Belfast Telegraph

Belfast-based camera firm Andor Technology buys second company in two weeks

Andor Technology follows £6.8m Toronto deal with California coup

By Margaret Canning

Andor Technology, the west Belfast-based maker of scientific cameras, has announced its second North American acquisition in two weeks.

The plc announced it had paid $4.75m (£2.32m) for Apogee Imaging Systems in California, which makes high-spec cameras for government laboratories, astronomers and the life science sector.

Subject to performance criteria, Andor will pay another $0.34m (£0.21m) – and will also receive over $0.7m (£0.4m) in net assets under the deal.

It comes hot on the heels of Andor's purchase of Spectral Applied Research in Toronto for C$11.3m (£6.8m) two weeks ago.

The deals follow some years of consolidation for Andor since its last acquisitions – Photonic Instruments in 2010 and Bitplane in 2009. Speaking about the latest takeover, Andor chief executive, Conor Walsh, said: "This is a strategic acquisition for Andor, as it significantly broadens our mid-range camera offering.

"The Apogee portfolio allows us to leverage our existing original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customer base and our global distributor network, both of which currently source these products elsewhere.

"I am delighted to welcome the Apogee team to Andor, building on our recent acquisition of Spectral Applied Research. We are confident both businesses will contribute positively to the expanded Andor group."

Apogee's 19 staff, which include the company's founders, will remain with Andor. Andor's spokesman said: "We expect the business to deliver revenue in the first year of Andor ownership of $4.5m (£2.79m) and to be modestly profitable as we build the global brand and extract synergies. Thereafter, margins will increase to levels similar to the rest of the Andor business."

Earlier this month, Andor acquired Spectral Applied Research, a market leader in optical systems for cell biology research.

Spectral's 32 staff – including five founding shareholders – are sticking with the new owners.

Andor was set up as a Queen's spin-out company in 1989 and has since grown to employ 300 people in 16 offices around the world. It has around 10,000 customers in 55 countries and is the fastest-growing company in its sector. It joined the AIM in 2004. Northern Ireland's other listed companies are UTV Media plc, on the main London Stock Exchange, and First Derivatives, also on the AIM.

Andor Technology, which is based in Springvale, announced two contracts with universities in Moscow in July to supply an imaging system and scientific cameras to neurochemistry researchers.

The firm secured the business following a trade mission to Russia with Invest NI.

In interim results for the six months to the end of March, released in June, Andor turnover was down to £27.9m from £31.2m, and pre-tax profit fell to £4.4m from £5.5m.

Mr Walsh said at the time that the company's future focus would be on growing mid-range customers – those who were buying cameras in the £5,000 to £15,000 bracket – where sales had grown 24%.

"It's a mixed performance but certainly there are plenty of positives," Mr Walsh added.

Taking market share from a competitor would be another important strategy – but Mr Walsh said the fall in turnover would not mean staff cuts.

"We will be adjusting our headcount up as we have done every year. So far this year we have taken on nine people and we have a number of open recruitments at the moment. Our strategy is one of continued investment."

£2.32m

The amount paid out by Andor Technology for Apogee Imaging Systems

Belfast Telegraph

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