Vu1 in Talks With U.S. Retail ‘Big Boys’ to Sell Light Bulbs

Vu1 Corp., a lighting-technology developer, is holding talks with two major U.S. retailers to sell its new energy-efficient light bulbs, Chief Executive Officer Philip Styles said in an interview.

The New York-based company has started production at its factory at Olomouc in the Czech Republic, and Styles said he hopes to have arrangements with big U.S. retailers by the middle of the year.

“We’re in discussion with major retailers here in the United States,” the former Sony Corp. executive said yesterday by telephone. “We’re currently in discussions with two and I’m trying to line up a third one. It’s the big boys here in the States,” he said, declining to name the potential customers.

Vu1 is hoping to win a share of the lighting market as countries including the 27 European Union members phase out incandescent bulbs and the U.S. brings in more rigorous efficiency standards in 2012.

The Czech plant is currently manufacturing “small quantities” and the plan is to ramp up to a rate of 6.8 million bulbs a year by year-end, and 30 million bulbs annually within two or three years, Styles said. A product suitable for Europe markets should be available by the end of 2011, he said.

Vu1 is promoting its lighting as cheaper than LEDs and, unlike the more efficient compact fluorescent bulbs, doesn’t contain mercury, a poisonous substance.

“We’re pitching our product in between the two main competitors at this moment in time,” Styles said, putting the price of Vu1’s bulb at just below $20 compared with about $40 for an LED and $12 to $13 for a compact fluorescent bulb.

The 19.5-watt bulb is priced at just below $20 compared with about $40 for a similar LED and $12 to $13 for a compact fluorescent bulb, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Morales in London at amorales2@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.