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Oct. 30, 2020

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Vancouver laser-maker nLight files for IPO

By , Columbian staff writer
Published:
2 Photos
Technicians at nLight in Vancouver work at stations where they process laser bars into chips that will eventually be used as lasers. The company, founded in 2000, launched an IPO late Thursday.
Technicians at nLight in Vancouver work at stations where they process laser bars into chips that will eventually be used as lasers. The company, founded in 2000, launched an IPO late Thursday. Ariane Kunze/The Columbian Photo Gallery

The firm nLight, a maker of high-powered lasers headquartered in Vancouver, has filed to go public.

Filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday show plans to sell stock in the company, offering nearly $86.3 million worth of shares to the public.

The company manufactures an array of lasers touted for power and precision, according to the company. It aims to cut into an array of industries and uses, from manufacturing to aerospace to defense.

The filings reveal how much nLight has grown in recent years. Its revenues climbed from $101.3 million in 2016 to $138.6 million last year. Net income in those years also climbed from a $14.2 million loss in 2016 to $1.8 million profit last year.

But the market for lasers is diverse and growing. According to market research firm Strategies Unlimited, the overall laser market has been estimated to be worth close to $10 billion.

Likewise, the market for lasers in manufacturing, aerospace and defense is charted to grow from $2.3 billion in 2015 to $4.2 billion in 2020, according to Strategies Unlimited.

The company was last written about in The Columbian in October, after it accepted a $1.93 million contract to develop lasers for the military. The “directed energy” technology had been demonstrated to fire invisible beams of light to shoot down rockets or enemy drones, for example.

Founded by Scott Keeney in 2000, the company employs more than 1,000 people around the world. Its local offices are in Vancouver and Hillsboro, Ore.

In the filings, nLight said it had applied for be listed as “LASR” on the Nasdaq Exchange.

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