Belfast Telegraph

Andor 'disappointed' as it urges shareholders to reject £159m takeover

The Northern Ireland company at the centre of a takeover battle has urged shareholders to reject an offer by Oxford Instruments.

Scientific camera maker Andor said it was disappointed the Oxford university spinout company still hadn't increased its original £159m bid which it made last month.

The Belfast company said it undervalues the firm and had hoped that explaining how its business worked would result in a higher price

"The Board of Andor has considered the possible offer and is disappointed that Oxford Instruments was not able to increase its offer price in light of the considerable management time that has been spent in helping Oxford Instruments understand Andor's business and its future prospects."

For its part, Oxford Instruments has remained quiet on the issue, despite Andor revealing a drop in its full year profits for 2013 yesterday.

It reported pre-tax profit of £6.3m, down from £8.9m last year, a slide Andor chief executive Conor Walsh told the Belfast Telegraph had been widely flagged by the company.

He blamed the fact many of Andor's customers are suppliers to public sector institutions, where budgets have been cut in the last few years, on the profit slide, but pointed out the future is looking bright in 2014. Andor is profitable and is generating cash as well as reinvesting in R&D investing considerably.

The firm's order intake – the volume of orders it's booking – is at a record high of £59.1m while its order book – the volume of orders already on its books – is up 33% on the same time last year.

That's helped by two recent acquisitions.

In October Andor purchased Spectral Applied Research in Toronto for £6.8m and two weeks later paid £2.32m for Apogee Imaging Systems in California.

And it hasn't finished the acquisition spree.

Mr Walsh said it still has at least £13.5m to spend and is looking at a pipeline of companies, although he wouldn't give any indication of potential targets.

In terms of the global markets in which Andor operates in, he said economic health around the world is a "mixed bag" with the Chinese economy continuing to outperform, Japan declining, the US showing signs of recovery, and Europe not witnessing any material growth.

And Mr Walsh said his company was committed to the manufacturing base in Northern Ireland.

"We've got a great facility in Belfast where we've over 200 people and another 210 around the world," he said.Conor Walsh is committed to manufacturing in Belfast

The board is disappointed that Oxford Instruments was not able to increase its offer in light of the time spent helping them to understand our prospects

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