Apple pours cash into Finisar, which makes facial recognition tech

Apple pours cash into Finisar, which makes facial recognition tech

Consumer electronics giant Apple ( AAPL ) on Wednesday announced a $390 million investment in Finisar ( FNSR ), the second company to receive funding from Apple's $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund. In May, Apple awarded $200 million to Corning ( GLW ) to support that company's state-of-the-art glass processing and research and development.

With the investment, Finisar will open a 700,000 square foot in Sherman, Texas, and hire 500 workers to start churning out more VCSELs.

The investment announced Wednesday is a lifeline for Finisar, whose stock had tumbled almost 40% this year after the company put up disappointing numbers in its past two quarters.

Finisar is reopening a facility in Texas which will help create 500 new jobs. The technology, which uses vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers, is also part of the company's emerging augmented reality efforts.

These chips are integral in depth and proximity sensing.

The lasers will also be used for 3D sensors in AirPods, Apple's wireless headphones. Finisar expects the Sherman facility to begin shipping new VCSELs by the second half of 2018. The company will invest in engineers, technicians and maintenance specialists. In the fourth quarter, Apple will purchase 10 times more VCSEL wafers than were previously manufactured worldwide over a similar time period, Apple said.

Launched in 1988, Finisar has built much of its business on transceivers and transponders.

The VCSELs help power the most important features on the iPhone X: Face ID, portrait mode selfies and animojis, or animated emojis.

Headquartered in California, the company now employs 14,000 people and works with tech giants such as Cisco, Huawei, IBM, and Hewlett Packard Enterprise in addition to Apple.

Jerry Rawls, chief executive officer of Finisar, praised the investment and said working with Apple will enable it to develop new technologies and solutions.

This image shows the inside of one of Finistar's manufacturing facilities.

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