RealTime IT News

Barren Desert

As lawyers prepare their briefs and vote counters try to determine what a vote really is, the markets seem to be very clear: IPOs are dead.

So far this week, IPO activity has been almost a flat-line. The only tech IPO that is worth mentioning is Novatel Wireless . Yesterday, the IPO gained $1 to $9. But consider this: The IPO range was $10-$12.

The company is a leading developer of wireless modems and has a clientele that includes Palm, Handspring and Hewlett-Packard. Unfortunately, Novatel's gross margins are nearly nonexistent. For the first nine months of 2000, revenues were $33.4 million and losses were $30.3 million.

As for next week, the IPO market will be a ghost town. Then again, the week will be shortened because of Thanksgiving.

Of course, Thanksgiving is not a factor overseas. There are, in fact, a variety of foreign companies ready to go public next. The problem is that they have not filed with EDGAR. So, it makes it very difficult to evaluate the investment.

But there is an interesting company that might do well next week: Alliance Fiber Optics Products.

Yes, fiber optics.

The company is a developer of fiber optic components and modular solutions for top telecom equipment manufacturers. The product line is extensive: interconnect systems, couplers and splitters, thin film DWDM components and modules, fixed and variable optical attenuators, and depolarizers.

No question, the market is massive. A study shows that optic component sales will soar from $6.6 billion in 1999 to $22.5 billion in 2003.

The company has an advanced vertically integrated manufacturing system. It helps to develop products efficiently and in volume quantities. Customers include Alcatel, ANTEC, Avanex, JDS Uniphase, Marconi Communications, NORDX/CDT, Ortronics and Tyco Electronics.

The lead underwriter is Merrill Lynch and the price range is $11-$13 (the company plans to issue 4.5 million shares). The proposed ticker symbol is AFOP.