Lighting Science Aims to Raise $150M and Join Nasdaq

LED lighting has been moving gradually from niche markets such as traffic lights and camping headlights to fixtures at homes and businesses. It could gain a brighter profile among investors as well with the planned Nasdaq debut of Lighting Science Group, which wants to raise up to $150 million.

The company’s filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday reflects optimism for the LED market’s growth this year and beyond. Lighting Science’s shares have been traded on the OTC Bulletin Board, and now it wants to enter the big league of Nasdaq under the same symbol “LSCG.” The Florida company hasn’t priced the shares it plans to offer.

Lighting Science designs and makes LED lamps and other light fixtures for the residential, commercial and industrial market. The company has been selling LED lighting for nearly a decade and owns factories in Satellite Beach, Florida and Monterrey, Mexico. The Mexico plant started production only last November. It also hires Citizen Electronics to make its products in Asia.

The company increased the number of people on its payroll, including contractors, to about 600 at the end of last year from 210 at the end of 2009, according to its SEC filing.

LED lights are energy efficient and long-lasting, but also more expensive than compact florescent or halogen lights. Investors have been willing to put money on LED lighting to help drive down its cost because it’s targeting an existing and vast market, unlike other greentech such as solar and fuel cells. Bridgelux, which makes LED chips and arrays, recently raised $20.7 million. The company opened a factory in California only last year and launched a “plug-and-play” LED fixture for industrial and commercial building owners about a year ago.

Lighting Science cited a bullish projection by Strategies Unlimited that says the LED lighting market will grow from about $874 million in 2010 to over $4.3 billion by 2014.

The company isn’t profitable, however. Lighting Science posted a loss of $155.38 million on $30.33 million in revenue for the first nine months of 2010. During the same period in 2009, the company posted a loss of $35.25 million on $21.97 million in revenue.

Lighting Science’s two main customers are Osram Sylvania and the Home Depot, which accounted for 21 percent and 6 percent of the sales respectively during the first nine months of 2010, the SEC filing said. Its main competitors include General Electric, Philips, Panasonic and Cooper Industries.

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Photo courtesy of Lighting Science Group