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ams expands again with MAZeT acquisition

27 Jul 2016

Austrian optical sensing firm says latest strategic deal will help it grow automotive, industrial and medical applications.

ams, the Austria-based provider of high-performance optical sensors, is expanding its applications base with the acquisition of Jena, Germany, headquartered MAZeT.

Founded in 1992, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, MAZeT has since developed a range of color and spectral sensing systems, including multispectral devices.

The switch will see MAZeT’s approximately 80 employees join ams. It wants to strengthen its position in high-growth sensing markets such as automotive and medicine, where the use of optical sensing is expected to proliferate with innovations like self-driving cars and new diagnostic techniques.

Complementary products
MAZeT’s expertise is said to include IC and filter design, as well as hardware and software system development. The firm’s “JENCOLOR” sensors are currently used in applications as diverse as airplane interior lighting, agricultural sensing, and to analyze skin lesions.

The company also has a legacy business supplying modules to its previous industrial shareholders.

ams’ general manager of emerging sensor solutions Thomas Riener said in a joint statement: “Adding MAZeT’s excellent optical know-how allows us to create new product and application opportunities in areas such as sensing and controlling lighting, measuring physical parameters or matching colors on a display to the real world.

“ams’ operational and manufacturing capabilities and global sales reach will offer additional synergies increasing the strategic potential of this transaction.”

MAZeT’s CEO Fred Grunert added: “Combining complementary products and the sensor expertise of both companies will create an even stronger leadership position with a leading portfolio of optical sensors targeting the automotive, industrial, medical and smart lighting end markets.”

ams also expanding in Cambridge and New York
The MAZeT deal – for an undisclosed cash sum – comes just a month after ams also acquired UK-based Cambridge CMOS Sensors (CCMOSS).

A spin-off from the University of Cambridge, CCMOSS developed MEMS-based infrared and gas sensors for a variety of applications in automotive, medical, and consumer markets.

ams said it planned to integrate CCMOSS’ activities into its existing environmental sensor business, which has development locations in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, and Reutlingen, Germany.

The Austrian firm is also expanding in the US, where its new analog wafer fabrication facility is under construction in Utica, New York. ams says that the first batches of wafers are set to roll off the production line in the first half of 2018.

ams’ CEO Alexander Everke said at the fab’s ground breaking ceremony in April: “What we will create together in Utica will be the most productive ‘More than Moore’ fab worldwide”.

The Austrian firm has just posted a 22 per cent drop in revenues for the second quarter of 2016, to €132.4 million. Earlier this month ams arranged a €175.5 million promissory note with banks to increase its financial flexibility.

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