Ams Osram is homing in on chips, so what’s up with its Traxon unit?

March 2, 2022
The general illumination business counts one of the world’s tallest buildings among its installations. Impressive, but at odds with the mission statement.

Since acquiring Osram, ams Osram has made it persistently clear that its focus is on making optical chips such as LEDs and lasers, plus sensors. True to its words, it has been selling off general illumination businesses. There has been one glaring exception — Traxon Technologies.

Hong Kong-based Traxon specializes in architectural and façade lighting and the like. Its showcase accounts around the world have included skyscrapers, bridges, historic edifices, amusement parks, retail centers, and just about anything in the built environment that can be dazzled up with colorful, dynamic lighting.

For example, about a year ago, LEDs Magazine noted one of its installations at the 1,500-ft-tall Landmark 81 building in Ho Chi Minh City, and another across 30 buildings and a bridge in Taiyuan, China.

At the time, we pointed out that Traxon appeared to be one illumination operation that might be spared the carving knife in ams Osram’s selloff of lighting operations.

So far, that has proven to be the case.

But ams Osram has continued selling off other illumination businesses. In December, it even agreed to relinquish horticultural lighting specialist Fluence by Osram, to Signify. It had seemed as though Fluence might stay, given the lively growth of horticultural lighting in general. While Ams Osram is by no means abandoning the horticultural market outright, it has decided to approach it strictly from the chip level, not with finished systems.

So if Fluence can go, what about Traxon? LEDs put that question to ams Osram.

“There is nothing to communicate at this time,” a spokesperson responded via email.

Hmmmm. Does that imply there might be more to say at a later date? We asked, and the spokesperson said there was nothing more to add.

Ams Osram has scheduled a Capital Markets Day with analysts on April 5, when it has pledged to say more about its ongoing integration of Osram, including how it is prioritizing factories. Perhaps it will have some insights then about Traxon.

Or perhaps not. There are reasons why Premstaetten, Austria-based ams Osram might continue to hold on to its sparkling misfit, including some not-so-straightforward ones. Perhaps Traxon’s Hong Kong base might be complicating any planned intention to sell.

Whether or not ams Osram sells Traxon, the focus on chip-level activity continues to intensify, with the company expanding into new market sectors. For instance, ams Osram CEO Alexander Everke recently described the importance of the “metaverse’s” AR and VR products.

If it does sell Traxon, the sale would join a list of other illumination selloffs since the July 2020 acquisition that have included Fluence as well as Digital Lumens, plus Osram’s former North American LED driver and light engine operations and a lighting components factory in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, among others.

MARK HALPER is a contributing editor for LEDs Magazine, and an energy, technology, and business journalist ([email protected]).

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About the Author

Mark Halper | Contributing Editor, LEDs Magazine, and Business/Energy/Technology Journalist

Mark Halper is a freelance business, technology, and science journalist who covers everything from media moguls to subatomic particles. Halper has written from locations around the world for TIME Magazine, Fortune, Forbes, the New York Times, the Financial Times, the Guardian, CBS, Wired, and many others. A US citizen living in Britain, he cut his journalism teeth cutting and pasting copy for an English-language daily newspaper in Mexico City. Halper has a BA in history from Cornell University.