RealTime IT News

Hard Landing?

In the IPO market, the silence is almost deafening. And, expect things to get even quieter.

Not long ago high-tech IPOs dominated the calendar. Nevermore. Now, it seems that only mundane companies do well, such as energy firms.

But there is an IPO to keep an eye on for next week: Luminent. The company develops single mode fiber optic components and subsystems for long-haul telecom networks. The product line is quite broad, including active and passive components. Active components require electrical power to transform optical signals (examples include receivers, transmitters, laser and modulators). As for passive components, these are used to direct, split and merge optical signals - yes, without using electricity. Examples of Luminent products: couplers, isolators, fiber gratings, film filters and wavelength division multiplexing (WDM).

The global usage of the Net means that telecom networks are getting congested. Instead of constructing new networks, why not make the existing networks better? It is definitely a lucrative marketplace, and Luminent is a prime beneficiary.

Of course, the market is forecasted to continue its strong growth. According to a study by Ryan, Hankin & Kent, the market for fiber optic components was about $6.6 billion in 1999; by 2003, the market is expected to surge to $23 billion.

The lead underwriter is CS First Boston and the price range is $13-$15 (the company plans to sell 12 million shares). The proposed ticker symbol is LUMN.

Another promising IPO is Computer Access Technology (CAT). The company develops verification systems and connectivity products for digital communications standards like USB, IEEE 1394, Bluetooth and Ethernet. Basically, the systems help along each phase of a product development and deployment cycle.

Over the next few years, there is expected to be strong demand for digital appliances. To make these things work, the devices need to be interoperable across a myriad of data delivery systems.

The lead underwriter is Robertson Stephens and the price range is $12-$14 (the company intends to issue 3.5 million shares). The proposed ticker symbol is CATZ.