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G&H snaps up polymer component specialist GS Optics

21 Jun 2023

Expansion planned at GS Optics' downtown Rochester headquarters following $15.7M deal.

London-listed Gooch & Housego (G&H) says it has acquired US firm GS Optics, a specialist in polymer optical components, in a cash-plus-stock deal worth up to $15.7 million.

Originally founded as Germanow-Simon Corp. in 1916, GS Optics (also known as GS Plastic Optics) now employs around 60 people at its site in downtown Rochester, where it manufactures injection-molded polymer optical components, including freeform imaging optics and mirrors.

GS Optics is also said to have well-established in-house capabilities to provide custom-designed, diamond-turned and injection-molded prototypes, as well as thin-film anti-reflective and reflective coatings, and integrated optical solutions.

Rochester hub set for expansion
G&H says that it plans to invest in the Rochester campus, establishing it as the company’s wider center of excellence for life sciences applications in North America.

“GS Optics will become the G&H innovation hub for dynamic, high-performing teams and cutting-edge research, development, and manufacturing of optics and photonics for life sciences,” announced G&H.

The UK company specified that there were “no planned job losses”, and that it would “immediately” expand the Rochester site by 25 per cent to support its growth plans.

“GS Optics has established itself as a leader in polymer optics, with a strong presence in the medical diagnostics sector,” G&H added in a regulatory filing detailing the deal.

“Combining the capabilities of GS Optics with the global reach of G&H’s commercial and engineering teams will accelerate [G&H’s] growth in optical solutions for the life sciences market and some specific [aerospace and defense] and industrial applications.”

Specific market areas in life sciences include ophthalmic lenses, surgical imaging, and diagnostic instrumentation, as well as military and civilian night-vision and visible-range sighting applications.

G&H CEO Charlie Peppiatt said of the acquisition: “GS Optics is a high-quality business with a strong customer base and differentiated technology. The acquisition is in line with our recently announced new strategy to become an innovative customer-focused technology company.”

$10M turnover in 2022
Andy Germanow, the GS Optics CEO, added: “Joining forces with G&H is a tremendous opportunity for us. We have always strived to deliver the highest quality optics to our customers, and this acquisition opens up new horizons.

“As part of G&H, we will leverage their extensive resources, expertise, and global presence to accelerate our growth and continue providing innovative solutions to our customers.”

Under the terms of the deal, G&H will pay an initial cash sum of $11.3 million, augmented by $2.6 million of new G&H ordinary shares. A further $1.8 million in cash could be payable, depending on how the GS Optics business performs this year.

In 2022, the Rochester firm is said to have realized earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of approximately $1.5 million on sales of around $10 million - meaning that it should slightly enhance G&H’s current profitability.

Earlier this month G&H posted an adjusted pre-tax profit of £4.5 million after its sales in the six months to March rose sharply, to £71.3 million.

Outlining the results of the recent strategic review at the time, CEO Peppiatt said the firm would pursue “speed to value” acquisitions that filled a gap in its existing portfolio.

Following completion of the deal, GS Optics will be branded under the G&H umbrella, and known as “G&H | GS Optics”.

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