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Blue Laser Firm NUBURU Explores Strategic Alternatives Amid NYSE Compliance Challenges

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In a strategic move reflecting the current macroeconomic landscape, NUBURU, Inc. (NYSE American: BURU), a pioneer in industrial blue laser technology, has announced its decision to explore a wide array of strategic alternatives. This decision comes at a critical juncture for the company, as it faces compliance challenges with the NYSE American’s listing requirements due to a prolonged dip in stock prices.

NUBURU has appointed Northland Capital Markets as its financial advisor to navigate this period of uncertainty. The company will consider various strategic options, including mergers, sales, divestitures, and other significant financial maneuvers, aiming to stabilize and potentially enhance its market position. This exploration does not have a set deadline, underscoring the thoroughness with which NUBURU intends to approach its strategic review.

Nuburu’s development of blue laser 3D printing technology for GE Additive. Image courtesy of Nuburu.

NUBURU’s blue laser technology has unique potential in the AM space due to its ability to work with challenging metals, like copper and aluminum. Given the latter material’s value in automotive and the former’s conductivity, NUBURU’s technology could be quite beneficial for LPBF.

Here’s a bit of background on the firm that NUBURU has partnered with in its financial strategy. Northland Securities was acquired by First National of Nebraska (FNOB) in May 2023. FNOB is an influential interstate bank holding company based in Omaha with over $20 billion in managed assets and more than 6.6 million customers. The firm represents the influence of the Lauritzen family, with Bruce Lauritzen serving as Chairman, as well as the CEO of Lauritzen Corporation, which has a 28% voting share in the bank. While none of that background information is key to predicting the future of NUBURU, it is worthy of keeping track of which financial institutions are involved in the AM sector.

NUBURU’s Future Prospects

This announcement follows a period of financial turbulence for NUBURU, marked by its stock price falling below the NYSE American’s minimum requirement. NUBURU’s financial situation appears to be precarious. The company is operating at a loss with negative net income and negative operating cash flows. Its negative working capital and total equity indicate potential liquidity issues and a deficit of assets over liabilities. The stock price is very low, suggesting that the market has a pessimistic view of the company’s future prospects. To improve its financial health, the company would likely need to increase revenue, reduce expenses, or secure additional financing.

While this writer is often skeptical of small, publicly traded firms, NUBURU had been involved in some interesting projects, including the development of an ultra-fast printer for the Air Force, a novel additive manufacturing (AM) process with Essentium, and a laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) program with GE. One can imagine any number of LPBF systems manufacturers, from Trumpf to EOS to GE, purchasing NUBURU in order to vertically integrate a blue laser supplier. Northland Securities has previously hosted GE affiliate Hyliion, which 3D prints thermal solutions, at an investor conference. Would it be reaching too far to lean toward GE as a possible acquirer for that reason? The conglomerate’s upcoming corporate split is suggesting that the Aerospace division that houses GE Additive could raise a lot of cash. If so, however, it would more likely be a part of the same vertical integration play as GE’s purchase of Concept Laser.

If it weren’t an LPBF systems manufacturer, one might imagine a fellow laser company to purchase NUBURU. Outside of IPG Photonics, nLight has been making steady inroads into the AM market and NUBURU could be complementary. The added benefit is that both are based in the U.S., thus lacking the Russian entanglement suffered by IPG Photonics.

Regardless of the exact future that NUBURU faces, it is far from the only firm in the AM industry to suffer from the current macroeconomic environment. Companies once valued in the billions of dollars are now trading for less than $1 and face the threat of delisting. It may be a financial difficult time for these businesses, but it is also an opportunity to build stronger ones, as the CEOs of several publicly traded 3D printing firms suggested at this year’s Additive Manufacturing Strategies conference.

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