Oxford Instruments buys TDI, expands HB-LED biz

Apr. 11, 2008 – UK-based Oxford Instruments says it has acquired Silver Spring, MD-based Technologies and Devices International, a developer of hydride vapor phase epitaxy (HVPE) technology and processes (described as an alternative to metal-organic chemical vapor deposition [MOCVD] techniques), for $1M in cash, plus future considerations based on tool sales by July 2012 that could boost the deal to $6M (Oxford also will assume $2.2M of TDI debt). TDI will remain at its US facility and expand R&D efforts, and will still be led by president Tatiana Dmitriev and R&D head Alexander Usikov.

The impetus of the deal is growth in the high-brightness LED manufacturing market, which are ~10x more efficient than tungsten bulbs and 2x as efficient as compact fluorescent lighting in domestic and commercial lighting. The firm cited analyst predictions of 20% CAGR for the HB-LED market through 2012.

The deal helps Oxford expand its HB-LED offerings to the epitaxy sector, complementing its Plasmalab range of etch and deposition tools. The company noted in a statement that its tools cover three of the nine HB-LED manufacturing steps, but adding TDI helps address this fourth step “that has historically been the most time consuming and costly,” with tools that enable HB-LED suppliers to cut manufacturing times by 25%.

On the books, the TDI acquisition also supports Oxford’s plan to double the size of its Plasma Technology group over five years and add 10 percentage points to EBIT margins, noted CEO Jonathan Flint, in a statement.

TDI posted a pretax net loss of $0.8M for the 12 months ended June 2007, vs. $1.0M in gross assets. Losses are expected to continue through the next year while tools are developed, but the acquisition should be “earnings enhancing” in the second year.


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