27 June 2011

SPTS management buy-out from SPP gets backing from Bridgepoint

SPP Process Technology Systems Ltd (SPTS) of Newport, Wales, UK, the plasma etch, deposition and thermal processing equipment subsidiary of Sumitomo Precision Products Co Ltd (SPP), says that a management acquisition of SPTS from SPP is being backed by European private equity firm Bridgepoint.

Bridgepoint focusses on the acquisition of companies valued up to EUR1bn. It is currently investing a EUR4.8bn fund, Bridgepoint Europe IV, which had its final closing in November 2008, and has made nine investments to date.

SPTS was formed by SPP in October 2009 to merge predecessor firm Surface Technology Systems plc (STS) together with assets acquired from Aviza Technology Inc, including Newport-based single-wafer process equipment subsidiary Aviza Technology Ltd (ATL) and Aviza’s Scotts Valley-based Thermal Products business (which provides spare parts, upgrades, and new or remanufactured systems to existing customers of Watkins Johnson, SVG, and Aviza furnaces and APCVD systems). Also, last December saw completion of the transfer of ownership from SPP to SPTS of Primaxx Inc of Allentown, PA, USA, which provides residue-free micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) dry etch release equipment.

SPTS therefore designs and manufactures equipment for producing devices in sectors including MEMS, power management, advanced packaging, high-speed RF components, and LEDs on compound semiconductor substrates. With more than 500 staff in manufacturing, sales and service operations across 19 countries, SPTS serves micro-device manufacturers through its main operations in Newport and in San Jose, CA, USA. In 2010 it generated sales of $217m and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of $58m.

“The investment by Bridgepoint in SPTS signifies the next stage in our evolution as a market leader in the MEMS, compound semiconductor, advanced packaging and power markets,” says president & CEO William Johnson. “SPP’s support in the company has been invaluable, and the board is grateful for the success enabled by SPP,” he adds. “We are constantly looking to develop our capabilities to meet future customer needs and, with Bridgepoint as a new investment partner, their financial and commercial expertise will be a key pillar to our expansion,” Johnson reckons.

“I have been closely involved in the development of SPTS following the time with STS since its acquisition made by SPP in 1995,” says SPP’s president Susumu Kaminaga. “For SPP, this transaction allows us to focus on other areas of our business which offer attractive investment opportunities,” he adds. “However, we will continue to co-operate with SPTS, retaining a [minority] stake and working together with them through a joint venture for the Japanese market.” The company name will remain as SPTS.

Bridgepoint believes SPTS represents an attractive opportunity to acquire a market leader in the wafer fabrication equipment sector. “SPTS has strong positions in every sector in which it operates, and a global customer base in end-markets poised for long-term growth,” comments Bridgepoint director Chris Bell. “In addition, we have identified with management a number of initiatives to optimize its operational performance, including acquisitions in attractive niche markets and joint ventures, such as the BluGlass agreement.” Last August, SPTS invested AUS$5.2m for a 19.9% stake in BluGlass Ltd of Silverwater, Australia, which has developed a patented low-temperature process using remote-plasma chemical vapor deposition (RPCVD) to grow materials including gallium nitride (GaN) and indium gallium nitride (InGaN) on glass substrates for the production of LEDs.

See related items:

SPTS and Griffith University to develop SiC-on-Si technology

BluGlass and SPTS JV establishing RPCVD research and demonstration site in UK

SPTS buys Tegal’s DRIE assets

SPTS acquires HF vapor oxide etch firm Primaxx

SPTS opens San Jose facility as it celebrates anniversary

Sumitomo Precision Products completes acquisition of Aviza

Aviza agrees to sell assets to Sumitomo Precision Products

Tags: SPTS SiC-on-Si substrates BluGlass RPCVD GaN InGaN PVD ALD Etch

Visit: www.spp-pts.com

Visit: www.bridgepoint.eu

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