Primarion Sheds Optical I/O to Focus on Digital Power

May 21, 2006 by Jeff Shepard

Zarlink Semiconductor (NYSE/TSX:ZL announced the purchase of the optical I/O (in/out) business of Primarion, Inc., a supplier of digital power conversion ICs (integrated circuits) for US $7 million in cash. The purchase includes Primarion's optical I/O assets and intellectual property. Zarlink intends to retain all 10 former Primarion I/O group employees. This acquisition is expected to generate approximately US $3 million in revenue in Fiscal 2007 and is not expected to have a material impact on ongoing current year earnings.

Primarion's I/O business, based in Phoenix, Arizona, is a technology and market leader for laser driver and optical receiver ICs used in multi-lane, parallel fiber optic modules. Several global customers have designed Primarion's physical layer I/O solutions into optical modules used in enterprise data centers for interconnect applications such as Ethernet, fiber channel and proprietary VSR (very short reach) optical links. Primarion's I/O solutions include laser drivers, transimpedence and post amplifier circuits, supporting wireline speeds of 1 Gb/s to 10 Gb/s.

"There are exciting growth prospects for parallel optics in emerging markets such as high-performance computer interconnect, industrial automation and military applications, as well as telecom," said Dr. Stan Swirhun, senior vice president and general manager, Zarlink Optical Products Group. "We will provide superior support, and a high-quality, stable source of supply to Primarion customers. We will also introduce innovative optical solutions that combine Zarlink technology with Primarion optical ICs."

"Going forward, we will focus on our core business of developing and delivering digital power management ICs," said Ron Van Dell, President and CEO of Primarion. "We are excited that our established portfolio of optical I/O ICs will be integrated with Zarlink's optical components, and we are confident that this combination will set new benchmarks for performance, integration and reliability. Our optical I/O customers will be in good hands with Zarlink."

Optical I/O devices strengthen component portfolio Zarlink's Optical Products group designs and manufactures parallel fiber optic modules and an extensive portfolio of discrete optical products, including serial bi-directional components, light-emitting diodes, laser transmitters, detectors and receivers. The acquisition of Primarion's physical layer optical I/O devices will enhance Zarlink's ability to deliver complete optical solutions that meet the demand for higher bandwidth.