23 Apr 2003
US laser manufacturer Coherent plans to buy back the outstanding shares in its former subsidiary Lambda Physik.
Coherent currently owns 60% of shares in the Germany-based company and is offering EUR 9.25 (USD 10) cash for the remaining 40%. On its first day of trading on the Neuer Markt stock exchange in September 2000, Lambda Physik's share price hit EUR 56.
Lambda Physik chief executive Dirk Basting has already indicated that he will accept Coherent's offer and resign his position. Basting holds 10% of the shares and stands to pocket around EUR 12 million via the deal.
"Coherent has always been a reliable partner," said Basting in a statement. He believes the deal will be good for Lambda Physik: "The combination of technological resources in the field of solid-state lasers will accelerate the development of new, innovative products in dynamic sectors such as the automotive and semiconductor industries."
Following his 30 years at Lambda Physik, Basting will remain as an advisor to the company after his departure.
Commenting on the intended withdrawal from the stock market of the company he founded, Basting said that nose-diving share prices on the capital markets over the past couple of years had made the costs of its share listing easily outweigh the benefits.
"The de-listing will allow Lambda Physik to focus on the development of ultraviolet laser technology and new applications," Basting added.
Coherent president and chief executive John Ambroseo said of the planned deal: "The acquisition of all the outstanding Lambda Physik shares makes sense in the current global economic environment."
•: In its half-year results, Lambda Physik reported a net profit despite further drops in its sales. For the six months ending 31 March 2003, revenue decreased 8% to EUR 47.2 million on the previous six months but the company turned a modest profit of EUR 0.5 million.
According to the company, sales of lithography equipment are rising strongly as the 193 nm node becomes standard. These gains were offset by a dramatic slowdown in sales of industrial lasers and a weak performance from the scientific/medical division.
Michael Hatcher is technology editor on Opto & Laser Europe magazine.