Lucent

(LU)

said Wednesday it is considering selling or merging its optical fiber business, confirming

published reports that surfaced earlier this month.

The optical fiber unit grew more than 60% in fiscal 2000 and executives described its performance as "stellar," Lucent said.

The Atlanta-based business designs and manufactures fiber cable, specialty fiber components and fiber connectivity apparatus, as well as optical fiber. The unit is in the midst of a $1 billion expansion program, part of which will enlarge its fiber manufacturing facility in Norcross, Ga. Lucent also recently opened a fiber cable manufacturing facility in Campinas, Brazil, to serve Latin America and the Caribbean.

Among those thought to be interested in bidding for the company are

Corning

(GLW) - Get Report

, France's

Alcatel

(ALA)

,

JDS Uniphase

(JDSU)

and Italy's

Pirelli

.

Lucent said it plans to determine the fate of the optical fiber unit within a few months.