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Andor acquires Photonic Instruments

26 Apr 2010

Andor Technology, a manufacturer of high-performance digital cameras for academic, industrial and government applications, has acquired US-based Photonic Instruments. Andor parted with US$5 million (GB£3.25 million) in cash and issued 156,627 ordinary shares at 2p each to buy Photonic Instruments, a developer of laser and lamp-based illumination and ablation systems.

"Andor continues to achieve strong organic growth. We have grown by 30% each year for the last 12 years," Conor Walsh, Andor's chief executive, told optics.org. "We have been able to generate significant cash and are in a fortunate position to part finance this transaction. Photonic Instruments has a strong market position, patented technology, high margin performance and good cash generation."

This latest deal comes after Andor's acquisition of Bitplane of Switzerland, a specialist interactive microscopy image analysis software company, at the end of 2009.

Both Photonic Instruments and Bitplane offer something new and complementary to Andor's existing product portfolio. "Andor was originally a camera company but in the last two to three years we have wanted to offer a total system that allows our customers to image live cells," commented Walsh. "Both acquisitions are completely complementary. There is no overlap in technology."

Photonic Instruments' latest product innovation is its Mosaic digital illumination system for fluorescence after photobleaching (FRAP) studies of live cells.

"Photonic Instruments' unique selling point is that they can bleach an entire sample in all the places that you want at one time," commented Walsh. "Most systems you have to scan across, which takes time. Photonic Instruments do all the bleaching simultaneously and then take an image immediately. There is no time delay between bleaching and imaging and this is the key thing. We can now offer our customers this application and bolt it on to our existing system."

Walsh adds that manufacturing will now move back to Andor's facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland, while sales will be managed from Andor's existing US hub in Connecticut. The existing management and founders will remain with the business following completion.

Robert Nowak, co-founder of Photonic Instruments said: "We are delighted to be joining Andor. We believe that the combined offering of Andor's systems products, Bitplane's software and Photonic's ablation and patented illumination products strengthens the position of each of the businesses and offers the customer a compelling proposition."

• Further consideration in the form of cash and Andor Shares of a maximum aggregate value of US$1.95 million (GB£1.27 million) may be payable by Andor under an earn-out provision in the event that Photonic Instruments exceeds an agreed order intake target as well as certain product development goals in the 18 months following completion. It is expected Andor will receive approximately US$0.5 million (GB£0.3 million) of net assets as part of the acquisition.

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