SSL-sector acquisitions and new ventures accelerate while financial reporting news is mixed across the LED component and lighting manufacturing spaces.
Acuity Brands has announced the acquisition of IOTA Engineering, a specialist in emergency lighting technology such as LED drivers with emergency lighting capabilities. General LED Holdings has announced the acquisition of Acolyte Group, a manufacturer of flexible LED strips for indoor and outdoor lighting. South America-based SaveEnergy has launched a new lighting manufacturer operating in San Diego, CA called 90+ Lighting. Seoul Semiconductor has announced a positive financial quarter, even while several top lighting manufacturers have released poor results of late.
Acuity and IOTA
The Acuity acquisition of IOTA likely fills a void in the former’s portfolio, although Acuity has long offered the Power Sentry emergency product line. Still, Acuity said IOTA’s products are a good match for the increasingly connected lighting world and Internet of Things (IoT) technology that Acuity is aggressively pursuing.
“The acquisition of IOTA supports the expansive smart building and lighting solutions strategy of Acuity Brands,” said Laurent Vernerey, president of the Acuity Technology Group and executive vice president of Acuity Brands, Inc. “IOTA's industry-leading technology coupled with its reputation for providing superior customer service will further enhance Acuity's market position in emergency lighting and equipment.”
General LED and Acolyte
Moving to another LED business transaction, the General LED acquisition of Acolyte is an easy-to-see fit with both companies having a presence in outdoor façade lighting, albeit with different product types and technologies. General LED is a holding company owned by private equity firm CapStreet Group and includes the brands AgiLight and GenLED.
“We believe the acquisition of Acolyte is very strategic as it adds a key product line of linear LED and architectural products, where we see a lot of demand from current and prospective customers,” said Steven Moya, CEO and president of General LED. “Furthermore, the two companies have highly-complementary geographic footprints and supply chains, which will provide additional synergies.”
For Acolyte, meanwhile, the move will open new markets. “General LED’s global platform will enable Acolyte to continue its strong growth track by opening exciting new markets and sales channels and to extend its global reach in service, sales, and tech support worldwide to better serve our customers,” said JR Guerrieri, founder and CEO of Acolyte.
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90+ Lighting startup
You may not truly be able to classify the new 90+ Lighting business as a startup because Brazil-based parent SaveEnergy has been manufacturing LED-based lighting products since 2010. But the new venture is in a completely different market with a completely different technology relative to the parent.
The North American division will, as the name implies, focus on high-quality lighting and it’s no surprise that a California location was chosen as headquarters. As we have covered previously, California Energy Commission Title 20 regulations are mandating 90-CRI lighting, even as many in the industry including ourselves have questioned that policy. The new company will offer 90-CRI or better products along with saturated red CRI R9 performance of 50 or better and flicker under 30%.
The 90+ Lighting venture launches June 1 with lamps and luminaires in its portfolio. Susan Larson will be CEO and she has long experience at Soraa where high-CRI products have always been a focus. “90+ Lighting will go to market with key lighting agents and electrical distributors,” said Larson. “We will focus on offering a full range of high-CRI products at competitive price points. We will meet a crucial need in the marketplace to narrow the gap between high light quality and affordable pricing.”
Ironically, SaveEnergy has been a partner with Soraa — distributing Soraa products in South America alongside the products manufactured by SaveEnrgy. Now Soraa and 90+ Lighting will compete in North America.
Moving to financial results in our last LED business update, Seoul Semiconductor said it again realized consolidated revenue in its guided range and near its record set two quarters back. Revenue was Korean Won (KrW) 283 billion (US$260 million) and operating profit was 6.1%. The company achieved the result despite what it said was a period of lower seasonal demand.
Ironically, the Seoul results were helped by the under-performing US dollar whereas a number of lighting companies have been hurt by that trend. Just this past week, we posted a story about Philips Lighting and disappointing results attributed both to the currency and to the difficulty of a transition to the world of smart lighting. Similarly, Osram had disappointing results announced earlier last week.
There have been mixed results among the financials of other companies. Website Edison Report said that Eaton posted a strong first quarter. But it’s almost impossible to discern the performance of the lighting unit in those results. The same website reported disappointing results for Cree, although that was rooted in a lighting business that is due for a reorganization. The LED component business fared better, although it appears that the power semiconductor unit will become the lead earner at Cree.