Oerlikon signed an
agreement to sell the Esec Business Unit to the Dutch company BE Semiconductor
Industries NV (Euronext: BESI). In a separate transaction, Oerlikon expects
to agree a management buyout of the Etch business from Oerlikon Systems. "Oerlikon
continues to fulfil its commitment to streamline its portfolio. Oerlikon has
significantly reduced its exposure to the cyclical semiconductor market and
can focus on its core competence in applications for thin film and coating,"
explains Dr. Uwe Krüger, CEO of the Oerlikon Group.
The sale of Oerlikon Esec was motivated by strategic considerations. The backend
semiconductor business does not provide any synergies with the group's core
technological competences in the coating/thin-film sector. Economies of scale
are also only of limited benefit to the Group. In contrast, as a buyer BESI
is an established player in the semiconductor assembly equipment market, with
an existing presence in the sale of die bonding systems. The planned acquisition
of the Esec business unit will reinforce and expand its market position. "We
are satisfied that Esec will be integrated in the operations of an experienced,
strategic partner who will continue to utilize the main technologies and products
of Oerlikon Esec, as well as the expertise of its employees," says Oerlikon's
Closing of the transaction with BESI is anticipated in April 2009 subject to
customary closing conditions and approvals. Both parties agreed to keep the
purchase price confidential.
In parallel with the sale to BESI, ongoing reorganization measures at Oerlikon
Esec will be continued and extended. Of the 280 jobs at the Cham site, around
70 will be affected; in addition, another 80 jobs will be cut in the Esec group
worldwide. An extension of 3 months in the current short-time work programme
has also been applied for, which involves 70 employees.
Separately, Oerlikon expects to agree a management buyout of the Etch business
from Oerlikon Systems. With this move, Oerlikon continues the strategic realignment
of the Systems business unit to focus on its core PVD process competence. This
business unit will continue to serve select semiconductor and optical disc industry
clients, even as it transitions to future applications in "clean technologies"
and "advanced nanotechnology."
The sale of the two semiconductor businesses is accompanied by a continued
concentration of the group structure and group reporting. On account of its
increased significance Oerlikon Balzers is thus elevated for the first time
to the status of a segment of its own and Oerlikon Systems as a former part
of Oerlikon Coating is absorbed into Oerlikon Components. As a result of the
sale, Oerlikon Esec is no longer in this segment.