Belfast Telegraph

Andor shakes on a £176m takeover deal by top rival

BY CLARE WEIR

The new owners of one of Northern Ireland's biggest companies has promised it is "business as usual" for the firm after a £176m takeover, one of the region's biggest ever acquisitions.

Jonathan Flint, chief executive of Oxford Instruments, has also pledged further investment, expansion and jobs growth for Andor, which makes scientific cameras and employs around 410 people, 250 of those at Springvale Technology Park in west Belfast.

He added that 97% of the shareholders of Oxford Instruments – a spin-out from Oxford University which made the first MRI scanner – have now approved the deal.

Mr Flint also said that bringing together the expertise of the two companies could help deliver brand new technologies and build machines never seen before in medical science.

"This is an ideal partnership for Oxford Instruments," he said.

"The Belfast site is not in competition with any of our other sites and this is not a cost-cutting measure. Andor will be a centre of excellence in optical technology, there will be no duplication and we see it as getting the best of both worlds," said Mr Flint.

"Andor makes the best cameras in the world and we do not plan to do anything to change that, we plan to invest in the facility to keep it up to full capacity. We hope to expand in future and hopefully create new jobs," he said, adding that the company had been taking an interest in Andor for up to four years.

"When we were visiting customer's laboratories, we were seeing our own equipment, and we were seeing a lot of Andor equipment and that made us sit up and take notice.

"There are a lot of companies on our radar but Andor's name was coming up again and again. We are now in a unique place where we can bring our technologies together and do things that no one else in the world can do."

Mr Flint added that following initial discussions with Andor earlier last year, there had been a "bit of dancing round the handbags to get the best deal available".

The deal has marked the end of a tense period of negotiations, initiated by a £140m offer, which was turned down by the Belfast company's board after being branded "disappointing".

The company has been rebranded as 'Andor – an Oxford Instruments company'.

Conor Walsh, Andor chief executive, reiterated that it was "business as usual".

"We had announced plans to take up a new site across the road as an overflow and those plans are still in place as we are full to capacity here at Springvale," he explained. "Oxford Instruments and Andor have similar strategies and this means we can work in partnership and do things faster.

"We didn't need to be acquired and we were not actively looking to sell the company, but it makes sense and we have a lot of cultural similarities."

Belfast Telegraph

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