ABQ Journal: SolAero acquires composite manufacturer

SolAero Technologies, the company that bought Emcore Corp.’s solar space division last year, has acquired Alliance Spacesystems LLC — a California-based maker of high performance composite structures for space applications.

The deal, announced Wednesday, will expand SolAero’s employee base from 280 to 400, although Alliance and its employees will remain at their current location in Los Alamitos, Calif., where the company will continue operating as a subsidiary of SolAero. Alliance has a 100,000-square-foot facility there to design, manufacture, integrate and test composite structures that fit the strength-to-weight ratios, stiffness and dimensional stability needed for spacecraft and other high-tech applications, said SolAero CEO Brad Clevenger.

“We are delighted to add Alliance to the SolAero family,” Clevenger said in a statement. “This acquisition combines highly complimentary core businesses to create a stronger company that will drive value for our worldwide customer base.”

Emcore had built its solar space division into one of the world’s leading makers of solar photovoltaic cells for spacecraft. It’s high-performance solar cells and panels — which fold out like wings once in space — have powered more than 150 space missions, including government and commercial satellites and spacecraft.

The New York-based private equity firm Veritas Capital bought the division for $150 million last fall. And, since taking over operations in January, the firm has worked to build on the old brand with new ownership, said Marketing Manager Maggie Smith.

“Our customers already know who we are, so we’re building on that with our new brand as SolAero Technologies,” Smith said. “We’ve built a new website, and we’re focused on our core business. We’ve had several launches already this year.”

Nearly all of the former 275 Emcore employees in the solar division remain in their posts at the new company. A few left with Emcore, and they’ve been replaced, Smith said.

The company remains headquartered at the Sandia Science and Technology Park.