OXFORD, ENGLAND-OC Oerlikon Corporation Ltd., headquartered in Pfäffikon, Switzerland, has acquired the laser technology, staff and equipment of UK company Exitech Ltd., in what was described as an asset deal. Financial terms were not disclosed. Exitech will be integrated into the Oerlikon Optics business unit. Exitech went into administration in October due to cash flow difficulties; administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP were always optimistic about finding a buyer for the business, which is well respected in the industry.
Exitech was founded in 1984 by Malcolm Gower and Phil Rumsby. The company is headquartered in Oxford, England 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-ultraviolit (DUV) and extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) microstepper tools used in the semiconductor industry.
Oerlikon specializes in thin film, vacuum, and precision technologies. Based on these core competencies, the company develops production systems, components, and services for high-technology products. Operations are divided into four main areas: protective coatings for precision tools and components, production equipment and coating processes for solar modules and production systems for data storage devices (Oerlikon Balzers Coating); vacuum and gas handling systems (Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum); optical components, aerospace technology and outsourcing (Oerlikon Components); semiconductor technology (Oerlikon ESEC Semiconductor). Oerlikon currently employs around 6,500 people and has approximately 80 subsidiaries in 25 countries.
Oerlikon’s Optics, Solar, and Wafer Processing business units are expected to benefit from the acquisition. For example, Oerlikon has previously bought in external technology for scribing its solar cells. “With Exitech’s expertise, which we will now integrate in Oerlikon, we will be able to control the full value adding process in the solar segment,” commented Oerlikon CEO Thomas Limberger.
Noting that the acquisition of Exitech’s laser technology opens up valuable know-how for other Oerlikon business units too, such as in the manufacturing and structuring of color filters and optic sensors or the production of semiconductors, Limberger added, “Exitech will provide crucial impetus for the development of our competencies in nano and laser technology. We are happy that we are not only taking Exitech’s technology on board, but also their staff. They will play an important part in the growth of Oerlikon’s solar business.”