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Luna Innovations merging with Michigan firm

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Print this page by Veronica Garabelli
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My E. Chung will head the combined company.

Roanoke-based Luna Innovations plans to more than double its size this spring when it merges with Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Advanced Photonix Inc. (API).

My E. Chung, Luna’s CEO, says the deal will be transformational. He will serve as CEO of the combined company, which on a pro-forma basis would have had revenue of about $50 million for the 12 months ending Sept. 30. Luna had revenue of $23.5 million during the same period.

Luna and API are both in the fiber-optics industry. Luna develops and makes fiber-optic sensing and test and measurement products for the telecommunications, aerospace, automotive, energy and defense industries.  API supplies optoelectronic sensors, devices and instrumentation for the telecommunications, defense, medical and industrial markets.

API stockholders will receive shares of Luna common stock at a ratio of 0.31782 shares of Luna common stock for each API common stock share. At the time the deal was announced, it was worth roughly $20.5 million. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the deal by both companies’ stockholders.

In its latest financial results, Luna posted a net income of $5.9 million for 2014, as opposed to a net loss of $900,000 the previous year. API’s most recent financial results show a net loss of  $1.3 million for the nine months ended Dec. 26, as opposed to a loss of $3.1 million during the same time period in 2013. 

The merged company will keep the Luna Innovations name and be based in Roanoke. It also will double Luna’s workforce from about 100 employees to 200.  Once the merger goes through, Luna’s board of directors will increase to seven seats, including Chung and three directors each from API and Luna. API’s CEO, Rick Kurtz, and its CFO, Jeffrey Anderson, will not be part of the new company.

“We look forward to working with Luna to create a dynamic company with greater potential,” Donald Pastor, chairman of the board for API, said in a statement at the time of the announcement. “We are very proud of the technology, products and markets that we’ve developed at API and are excited at the prospect of what we may be able to do together with the talented team at Luna.”

Another benefit will be the cost savings the merger is expected to bring. For example, the new company will be dealing the expenses associated with running only one public firm instead of two. Chung says Luna also sees an opportunity to maximize sales and create other potential operating synergies. 

Chung says that, since he took over as CEO of Luna in 2011, he has worked to make the firm a meaningful, public company with a single, strategic focus. (Luna started out as a research firm in 1990, a division it still has today). Luna especially sees growth in its fiber-optic technology, which Chung says provides a cheap way to find defects in composite materials often used in the spacecraft and automobile markets.

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