Apple Awards $390 Million to Face ID Tech Company Finisar -- 2nd Update

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Apple Inc. is awarding one of its key suppliers $390 million as part of its effort to fund domestic technology manufacturers, the tech giant said Wednesday.

The funding will enable Finisar Corp., Apple's second-largest supplier of a laser technology used in its iPhone X's facial-recognition capabilities, to speed up production and boost its research-and-development efforts, Apple said.

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Finisar has recently started shipping production quantities of its vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, or VCSELs. The device is critical to Apple's Face ID recognition system, providing the 3-D sensing capabilities that detect a face. It is also used in Portrait-mode selfies and the proximity-sensing capabilities of wireless headphones.

Apple said it would buy 10 times more VCSELs in the fourth quarter of 2017 than were previously manufactured world-wide over a similar time period.

Finisar plans to remodel a 700,000-square-foot plant in Sherman, Texas, to produce VCSEL arrays. Apple said its award will help Finisar create more than 500 high-skill jobs at the plant, including positions for engineers, technicians and maintenance teams.

Finisar shares soared 27% premarket after the award was announced.

The award is part of Apple's pledge to spend its $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund investing in U.S. companies engaged in high-tech manufacturing. In May, Corning received the first award, of $200 million, to expand its glass processing.

Write to Cara Lombardo at cara.lombardo@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 13, 2017 15:37 ET (20:37 GMT)