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Polatis Announces US$8.4m Second Round Funding

Cambridge, UK - March 12, 2002 - UK photonics company raises funds to continue development of the world's lowest loss highly scaleable all-optical switch, backed by 3i, Alta Berkeley, Prelude Trust plc and EonTech Ventures.

Polatis, the UK photonic switch pioneer for next generation communications networks, has secured its second round funding, raising US$8.4m. The investment round was led by Prelude Trust plc (US$3m) in addition to existing investors, Alta Berkeley (US$2.2m), 3i (US$2.2m), and new investor, EonTech Ventures (US$1m).

Today's optical communications networks have to carry ever-increasing data loads fuelled by the explosive increase in Internet traffic. One result of this is a bandwidth bottleneck caused by the optical-electrical-optical (OEO) conversion of signals employed in current switching nodes. Polatis offers a much needed solution, enabling the Internet to extend its reach and increase its speed much more cost effectively than existing technologies. It is developing unique all-optical (OOO) switching solutions in partnership with telecoms equipment manufacturers, enabling them to deliver higher capacity and lower cost systems to telecoms carriers worldwide.

Chairman of Polatis, Dr. Gary Vanstone said he was delighted with the news. "Our success in securing funding during what has been a very difficult period for our industry is indicative of the confidence investors have in our unique technology and in our strong team. With our broadened investor group we now have the financial backing to achieve our objective of becoming a world-class optical switch supplier."

Dr Bob Hook, Director of Prelude Trust plc commented, "The Internet has become indispensable and user expectations are continuing to grow, putting optical networks under increasing pressure. Low-loss optical switches are a fundamental requirement for cost effective management of network traffic and in this respect Polatis has a world-class product. Prelude prides itself in taking an active management role and we look forward to working with Polatis to make the company a commercial success."

Laurence Garrett of 3i and Tim Brown of Alta Berkeley commented, "We are pleased to continue being major backers of Polatis. Polatis has world class technology and genuine potential to be a leader in its market and is precisely the type of company that we look to support".

Polatis raised a first round investment package of US$3m in December 2000, which enabled it to develop a unique technology platform, Micro Actuation Sensing System (MASS) and its market-leading product, the <1dB all-optical switch. The company was founded by Andrew Dames in June 2000 (spin out of Sentec Ltd) and is located in the Cambridge Science Park.

About Prelude

Prelude Trust plc (www.prelude-technology.co.uk.) is an investment trust whose strategy is to seek significant capital appreciation over the long term through investment in early stage, technology and life science based businesses.

The management team at Prelude, which has been making early stage investments in technology based companies since 1984, comprises Dr Robert Hook, Andrew Allars, Alan Duncan, Dr Robert James and Russell Haggar. Prelude currently has a promising portfolio of 17 companies in the communications, IT, life sciences and materials sectors.

About 3i Group Plc

3i Group (www.3i.com) is Europe's leading venture capital company and invests in ambitious, growing businesses in all sectors. It provides funding for growth, recovery, management buy-outs and buy-ins. 3i has a network of 39 offices across three continents and has invested almost 12 billion in more than 13,400 businesses, including co-investment funds. It has a portfolio of investments in almost 3,000 companies, with combined valuation of 6 billion.

About Alta Berkeley Venture Partners

Founded in 1982, Alta Berkeley (www.alta-berkeley.com) is one of the pioneers of early stage venture capital in Europe. The firm has built a distinctive profile by maintaining its focus on early-stage European technology companies in the Communications, Information Technology and Life Science sectors. It has backed over one hundred companies to date and is currently investing from its sixth fund.

About EonTech Ventures

EonTech Ventures (www.eontechventures.com) is a venture capital firm investing in European companies operating in specific high-tech sectors, including software platforms, digital entertainment components and data communication equipment. EonTech Ventures focuses on start-up and development capital operations in Italy, France and the United Kingdom.

About Polatis Ltd

Since inception in 2000, Polatis has set the benchmark in ultra-low loss optical switching. Its patented direct optical beam steering technology is powering the creation of highly reliable and compact photonic switching solutions. Polatis delivers a broad range of optical switching products with class-leading performance to customers in the communications, defense and instrumentation sectors. The company is located in Cambridge, UK on the country's foremost Science Park. Polatis is backed by 3i, Alta Berkeley, Prelude and EonTech.

To learn more please visit our website at: www.polatis.com

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Abbie Clarke
Marketing Coordinator
Polatis Ltd
332 Cambridge Science Park
Cambridge, CB4 0BZ, UK
+44 (0)1223 394807