Zumtobel invests $4 million in TIR, licenses Lexel

Zumtobel and TIR have announced a strategic agreement to develop LED lighting products incorporating TIR's Lexel technology.

TIR Systems has signed a non-exclusive strategic development and supply agreement with Zumtobel AG, of Dornbirn, Austria, to develop and market Lexel™-based products through Zumtobel's newly formed subsidiary, Ledon Lighting GmbH (see below).

Zumtobel is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of lighting fixture products and the largest in Europe.

Zumtobel has also invested $4.0 million into TIR Systems through the purchase of debentures and warrants to purchase 800,000 common shares. This brings the total funds raised by TIR, pursuant to its previously announced convertible debenture financing, to $27.2 million.

The initial focus of the development agreement is anticipated to be the development of products for the architect or lighting designer specified retail, restaurant, commercial and residential markets that demand the precise white-color temperature control and dimming, as well as the energy efficiency, that TIR's Lexel technology is able to achieve. For more on this technology, see TIR's LEXEL platform provides cost-effective LED lighting.

Andreas Ludwig, CEO of Zumtobel Group, said, “We have entered into this agreement with, and invested in, TIR because we are committed to establishing leadership in delivering products based on solid-state lighting and Lexel technology. From a strategic point of view, this cooperation with TIR Systems is a perfect enrichment of our dynamically growing LED activities within the Zumtobel Group.”

Another strand of Zumtobel's activities is Lexedis Lighting, the joint venture between Tridonic (a Zumtobel subsidiary) and Toyoda Gosei, which was officially launched in December 2005 (see LED joint venture Lexedis launched in Paris).

Both companies are committing significant resources to this effort and it is expected that Lexel-based products will be available to Zumtobel’s markets in 2006. As part of the agreement, Zumtobel will be purchasing an undisclosed amount of LED-based products from TIR.

Ledon Lighting

Ledon Lighting is a 100% subsidiary of the Zumtobel Group and was founded at the end of December 2005: the company will begin business operations in March 2006.

Ledon is located in Lustenau/Vorarlberg in Western Austria, very close to the headquarters of Zumtobel Staff and TridonicAtco in Dornbirn. The company will be managed by Ruedi Hug, the former MD of TridonicAtco Switzerland.

A Zumtobel spokesperson told LEDs Magazine that Ledon "will concentrate its business activities on the development and marketing of new, innovative LED lighting appliciations for general lighting and beyond, serving all brands of the Zumtobel Group (Zumtobel Staff, Thorn and TridonicAtco) as well as new customers in new fields of application.

Compared to the OEM supplier Lexedis Lighting, Ledon will focus on the end of the LED value chain, developing coherent solutions based on innovative LED technologies."

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