MICROLASE Optical Systems, a Strathclyde University spin-out set up eight years ago in the West of Scotland Science Park, has been bought by its 25% shareholder California-based Coherent, a world leader in the laser industry with turnover of over #250m.

The Scottish Optoelectronics Association said the all-stock takeover was ''aimed at developing the position of the company in the global laser market and producing more hi-tech jobs for Scottish graduates''.

It is the first time a

US-based laser specialist has acquired an indigenous Scottish company in the industry and the SOA's head Chris Grade said it was ''a testament to the strength of the Scotland's #500m industry''.

Microlase joint managing director Graeme Malcom said the deal could lead to rapid growth in the company's #3m turnover and a tripling of the company's 15 jobs over the next three years.

''These would be

high-quality jobs - out of our current workforce, eight have PhDs while most of the others have degrees,'' he said.

''We would like to recognise the support of Glasgow Development Agency, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Optoelectronics Association and local support organisations,which have helped the company in its formative years.''

Nasdaq-listed Coherent, which took its 25% stake in 1997, said Coherent Scotland would enhance the group's position in the development of compact ultrafast lasers, which would play a role in emerging instrumentation, manufacturing and communication technologies.