Coherent says StockerYale jobs will stay in Salem

Coherent Inc., the California-based company that last month bought the North American assets of struggling Salem, N.H.-based StockerYale Inc., plans to keep the Salem plant open, the company’s chief executive said in an earnings call last week.

“We intend to maintain the Salem facility as an ongoing operation,” said John Ambroseo. In addition, the remaining business of StockerYale will continue to be operated out of rented space at the Salem headquarters, meaning that most of the company’s Salem-based employees will remain in place.

Things are a little more iffy for StockerYale’s former Montreal employees. Coherent would “consolidate them” into its existing laser diode operations, said Ambroseo.

Employees in Salem develop a specialty optical fiber for uses in material process, medical defense, communication and other applications.

“Having these capabilities will support our internal fiber-laser programs improving time to market, reliability and reproducibility,” Ambroseo said.

Both the Montreal and Salem operations generated about $15.4 million in business, and Coherent expects them to contribute $16 million to $17 million in annual revenue going forward, said Ambroseo.

StockerYale employed 183 people as of March. It’s unclear how many worked, or are still working, in Salem. Calls to Coherent were not returned by deadline.

In addition to paying $15 million in cash. Coherent also will assume at least $3.4 million in liabilities and other obligations, including the lease of the two facilities. Some $7.9 million of that cash would be used to pay off StockerYale’s major creditor and another $550,000 will pay off the Montreal lease. With $750,000 still held in escrow, that would leave the company with less than $6 million from the sale to fund its ongoing and future operations — LED facilities in England and Ireland.

On Friday, Coherent also reported a net loss for the quarter ending Oct. 3 of $4.5 million, or 4 cents a share, compared to a $4.1 million gain in the same quarter last year, but better than a $7 million loss in the previous quarter. – BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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