Jenoptik Acquires Meissner & Wurst

Jenoptik Acquires Meissner & Wurst

By Susan English

Herrenberg, Germany–The Jenoptik Group (Herrenberg, Germany) an international manufacturer of wafer equipment, marketing primarily to the Eastern Bloc, recently announced its acquisition of privately-held Meissner & Wurst GmbH & Co. (Stuttgart, Germany). M&W is considered a leader in cleanroom design, installation, and contamination control and is involved in a broad range of wafer handling, cleanroom, and isolation technologies, as well as the emerging field of mini-environments.

Jenoptik, with 1993 sales of $189 million, expects to go public on the stock market in 1998 or 1999. Its acquisition of M&W is expected to double Jenoptik`s sales, according to Dr. Lohar Spath, chairman of Jenoptik`s board of management. M&W had 1993 revenues of $190 million, 50 percent of which were in designing and building 8-in. wafer fabs.

Spath describes the takeover of M&W as Jenoptik`s “most important strategic acquisition in three years.” The move is expected to not only provide Jenoptik with a broader base of technologies, but the opportunity to extend its profitable semiconductor business, opening up well-established distribution channels worldwide. M&W, in turn, was looking for a strong financial partner to increase its market share worldwide. The marriage is expected to bring Jenoptik several steps closer to its ultimate goal of becoming a turnkey solution for the worldwide semiconductor industry, offering a full range of services from conception and design to mini-environments.

Legally known as “Carl Zeiss, JENA” before German reunification, Jenoptik only began selling in the West following the collapse of the Soviet Bloc. The company was the largest supplier of semiconductor production tools in the former East Germany, and reportedly supplied some two-thirds of the lithography equipment used in the Eastern Bloc.

There`s no doubt that Jenoptik seeks expansion in the worldwide market. “One message we would like to give to the industry is that we don`t see ourselves as a German company. We see ourselves as a worldwide company,” says Herbert Blaschitz, division manager for Jenoptik Cleanroom Automation.

Sudhir Jain, vice president of North American operations for Jenoptik, said the combined companies would embark on joint efforts in emerging environmental isolation technologies for semiconductors and other contamination-sensitive products.

Jenoptik is also looking to expand its market in the growing use of mini-environments. In North America, Jenoptik had announced last summer that it intends to sell its SMIF/mini-environment line of products to U.S. semiconductor manufacturers. n


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