Major changes in the laser market

Plymouth, MI and Hamburg, Germany—In what can best be termed as a major lineup change, two leaders in the industrial laser market have joined forces, as Rofin Sinar Technologies Inc. (www.rofin.com) has acquired from Dover Industries all the outstanding shares of capital stock of PRC Laser Corp. (Landing, NJ; www.prclaser.com) and Lee Laser, Inc. (Orlando, FL; www.leelaser.com).


This remote-welding system is one of Rofin-Sinar's flagship products.
Click here to enlarge image

PRC is the leading U.S. manufacturer of high-powered CO2 lasers and Lee Laser is the largest U.S. producer of solid-state lasers for materials processing. The two companies have a combined workforce of 120 employees and annual sales of about $30 million.

Dr. Peter Wirth, chairman and CEO of RSTI, commenting on the companies' synergies, stated that the merger will "...strengthen our worldwide leadership in industrial lasers." Dr. Wirth told ILS he is very happy to have PRC and Lee on board because it expands Rofin's customer base. He stated that the companies will operate as separate entities, maintaining their management structures and sales, service, and production operations. In an aside he remarked that the PRC/Lee acquisition adds 10% to Rofin's sales revenues, not an inconsequential number.

Jim Rickert, president of PRC, who will retain that title, affirmed Dr. Wirth's comments, telling ILS that the independence of PRC and Lee was a major point that convinced him and Dover the Rofin offer made excellent sense. He said, "We will continue to provide our customers with outstanding service, along with highly reliable and innovative products." He added that in any merger it is important to consider the interests of employees affected, and he sees the Rofin arrangement as ideal in that it protects the jobs of valued company employees.

Don Bishop, an industry veteran who will become the president of Lee Laser as company founder Chong Lee retires, was not available for comment at IMTS.

This merger was the main subject of discussion among the laser exhibitors at IMTS, where many suppliers thought PRC's line of lasers would expand Rofin's offerings, especially in the Detroit auto market. Rofin is very strong in this market, providing not only lasers, but also innovative products such as the remote welding system shown above and on the cover of this issue.—DAB

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