Optronics acquires Panelite, Millenium Series lighting

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Updated May 4, 2010

Optronics International announced that it has acquired the Panelite Millenium Series lighting brand, patents and tooling, as well as the rights to Panelite’s custom stainless steel truck accessories. Officials at the 38-year-old vehicular lighting manufacturer say the acquisition, terms of which were not released, is a good fit to their expertise, and that while some Millenium Series lighting products will be available in 30 days, the entire line will be in stock by July 1.

“This puts an end to all of the rumors and speculation about what’s going to happen to Panelite and its highly popular Millenium Series,” says Brett Johnson, president and chief executive officer of Optronics International. “I can assure you, there is no better match and home for these brands in the trucking industry than Optronics. We are a financially sound company committed to our industry for the long term. Optronics has a proven record for high-quality products, and being an OEM supplier, we clearly understand the importance of having inventory available to supply both the OEM and aftermarket. We support our customers and products with world-class customer service and an industry-leading warranty program.”

Johnson says the announcement is good news to truckers, OEMs, and aftermarket suppliers. Several months prior to Panelite’s permanent closure in January, the struggling company experienced difficulty delivering its industry-leading Millenium Series marker lights; as a result, these popular Panelite products have been in limited supply for an extended period.

Johnson says that Optronics has purchased all of Panelite’s intellectual property, including patents, trademarks, licensing agreements and tooling. He says his company’s intentions are to continue the selling, marketing and development of the Millenium Series product line, along with many of Panelite’s accessories.

Helping Optronics ensure a seamless transition is 16-year Panelite executive Sean Whitfield. “Optronics is poised to take what we had at Panelite to a new and higher level,” Whitfield says. “You will see exactly the same high-quality product standards that have made the Millenium Series the top choice of truckers and OEMs for many years.”
“We’re a lighting company, that’s what we do,” says Randy Varner, Optronics national sales manager for heavy-duty products. “We are an industry leader in safety lighting for the OEM and aftermarket, with the broadest line of LED products in the industry. We’re ready to serve the needs of our Panelite customers at the same high standards as our current Optronics customers. By July 1, the Millenium Series lights will be part of our standard ‘Ship 100 percent in 72 hours’ policy for which Optronics is known. Our centrally located distribution center near Tulsa (Okla.) means we can ship efficiently across the country, and also worldwide.”

Johnson says that while Panelite lighting products will be available by early summer, Optronics is taking more time to evaluate the accessories products associated with the acquisition. “We’re making no changes to the Millenium Series lighting,” he says. “It will be just like it has been – same tooling, same product. However, we will be taking a little longer to study the accessories part of the equation. Our most important message at this time is that Panelite’s product lines are back on the market, and only Optronics owns the full marketing and manufacturing rights for them. We will protect them just like we do all of our patented and trademarked products.”