Third Avenue Comments on Finisar Corp

Finisar Corporation ( NASDAQ:FNSR )

Finisar is a well-financed provider of optical subsystems and components, which are used in data communications and telecommunications. It was the market share leader in 2016, according to Ovum (market-leading research and consulting firm focused on digital service providers), and has held that honor since 2008. Demand for optical is being driven by additional network bandwidth needs due to increasing data and video traffic. Video downloads and streaming, social networking, on-line gaming, enterprise IP/Internet traffic, cloud computing, and data center virtualization - these are all putting additional demands on the network for increased bandwidth. In response, the telecom industry is ramping up metro (city-level) deployments in North America and Europe; China is increasing itsbuildouts supported by government initiatives to complete broadband coverage in rural and urban areas. On the data communications side, there is an increase in hyperscale data centers (think Amazon Web Services, Microsoft's Azure, Google and the like) and deployments of technology to upgrade existing connections to increase speed and efficiency in the networks.

Finisar also provides potential exposure to the growing 3D sensing industry. 3D sensing allows for augmented camera capabilities which enable object recognition, depth data, greater precision and object placement that can be used for virtual and augmented reality. Finisar provides VCSELs (vertical-cavity surface emitting laser) which can be used part of the 3D sensors. VCSELs have advantages of optical efficiency, low cost and small size. Finisar is expanding its manufacturing capacity of VCSELs at its Allen, Texas facility, which management believes will then allow it to pursue new 3D sensing opportunities in consumer applications.

Finisar common stock declined recently due to near term concerns over slowing demand from China and from a product specific issue, which appears now to be resolved. This provided the Fund an opportunity to acquire shares in this well-financed company at a discount of around 25% to our estimated mid-case NAV, for which we attribute no value to the potential opportunity in 3D sensing.

From Third Avenue Small-Cap Fund's second quarter 2017 shareholder letter .

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This article first appeared on GuruFocus .

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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