QinetiQ acquires market leading laser technology company

May 22nd, 2014

Farnborough, 22 May 2014: QinetiQ Group plc today announces that it has acquired Redfern Integrated Optics (“RIO”), a market leading supplier of low noise semi-conductor lasers, with a turnover of $5m in 2013.  The acquisition accelerates the development of OptaSense, a QinetiQ subsidiary, providing the business with secure access to the engineering team developing the current and future generations of highly coherent, low noise semi-conductor lasers.

Based in San Francisco, California, RIO is a leading supplier to the sensing industry with over ten years’ experience of delivering world class products to the fibre geophone, LiDAR and Distributed Acoustic Sensing (“DAS”) markets.  Backed by a consortium of venture capital funds led by Southern Cross Ventures and Jolimont Capital, RIO was the first company to develop a commercially viable semi-conductor laser with sufficient stability for DAS applications.

Leo Quinn, QinetiQ Chief Executive Officer said: “This acquisition of RIO is an important step in ensuring that OptaSense realises its full potential as the global leader in distributed acoustic sensing.  We are committed to supporting the high-growth businesses in our portfolio, accelerating their development as appropriate with acquisitions and partnerships. This acquisition has natural synergies with OptaSense and secures its access to a key supplier in the market.”

Magnus McEwen-King, OptaSense Managing Director said: “We have been working with RIO for many years and are impressed with the technical capabilities of the team.  Their products are ideally suited to the distributed fibre sensing market especially within the oil & gas sector where high performance and high reliability in harsh environments are essential. We see demand for RIO’s laser products continuing to grow across the whole fibre sensing market and look forward to supporting their existing customer base. Through this acquisition we also gain the ability to shape the future developments of their products to further improve the technical performance of our DAS offerings especially in the seismic monitoring market. ”

Dr Larry Marshall, Chairman of RIO and Managing Director of Southern Cross Ventures commented: “OptaSense has made an excellent strategic acquisition and will greatly enhance RIO’s ability to scale their unique technology across a broader range of markets and customers than would normally be accessible to a small start-up.  Our team and investors are pleased that RIO secured such an exceptional partner who will support our customers.”

RIO will be integrated with OptaSense but will continue to use the RIO brand name.  The transaction is expected to complete within the first half of QinetiQ’s financial year and is subject to normal regulatory approvals.

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