Exitech goes up for sale

OXFORD, ENGLAND-UK laser applications development specialist Exitech has been put up for sale after encountering some “cash-flow difficulties.

OXFORD, ENGLAND-UK laser applications development specialist Exitech has been put up for sale after encountering some “cash-flow difficulties.” The company went into administration on October 12; PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP have been appointed as administrators and so far have laid off 31 employees.

The problems at Exitech have taken UK industry insiders by surprise, and many are blaming the company’s bank. Mike Green from the Association of Industrial Laser Users (AILU) commented, “Exitech has been one of the UK’s great success stories in the field of photonics and it is unbelievable that this should happen, especially at a time when the UK (and world) photonics community is so optimistic about the future.”

According to Green, AILU had one of its most successful microprocessing workshops at Exitech in June of this year, which included a tour of the company’s industrial microprocessing machines under construction and testing. The attendance was high and the mood incredibly upbeat, he added.

“One might hope that a bank would have sufficient appreciation of the growth potential of the photonics industry not to force the collapse of a world-class company like Exitech,” Green said. “Clearly in this case it was asking too much, and tragic that it should happen so quickly that there is little anyone could do about it.”

Exitech was founded in 1984 by Malcolm Gower and Phil Rumsby. The company is headquartered in Oxford, with subsidiaries in Fort Lauderdale, FL and Tokyo, Japan. Exitech specializes in the use of lasers for micro- and nanofabrication applications in industry and is considered a leading supplier of specialist pulsed-laser processing systems. Exitech is also a leading supplier of deep-ultraviolet and extreme-ultraviolet microstepper tools used in the semiconductor industry. In March this year the company announced expansion plans, increasing its staff levels by 10%.

“It is very sad that a number of staff have had to be made redundant,” said David Bennett, joint administrator and director at PricewaterhouseCoopers. “However, we are continuing to look for a buyer for the business as a going concern and these redundancies have been made in order to allow us to do so. Exitech is a well-established company at the forefront of technology, and this has resulted in a number of enquiries from overseas companies which we are currently exploring.”

-Bridget K. Marx

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