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12 February 2007


Epichem acquired by Sigma-Aldrich for $60m

Epichem Group Ltd of Bromborough, UK, which supplies high-purity gases and chemicals (including metalorganic precursors), has been acquired for $60m in cash by Sigma-Aldrich Corp, which is based in St Louis, MO, USA. Sigma-Aldrich aims to expand the Hitech segment of its SAFC business (which is one of the world's 10 largest fine chemical businesses, with annual sales of nearly $437m in 2005).

Sigma-Aldrich reckons that Epichem's $40m in annual revenues will help it to achieve its growth goals in key high-technology markets over the next several years, and will be neutral to mildly accretive to earnings in 2007, with no significant initial charges.

Barry Leese, Epichem’s co-founder, managing director and majority equity holder, has been appointed president of SAFC Hitech. Epichem’s management and employees will remain in place.

“Epichem's strong product portfolio and solid relationships with key end-users and equipment suppliers brings important new global customer relationships to SAFC Hitech,” says SAFC’s president Frank Wicks. “Their experienced team, capabilities and contacts combined with SAFC’s industry-leading development, manufacturing, global footprint and financial strength will allow us to provide the electronics industry with even better specialized, high-quality materials,” he claims. Sigma-Aldrich employs 7300 staff across 35 countries.

“This venture pairs solid development and commercial manufacturing capabilities with a robust product portfolio and customer-centric collaborative R&D process, strongly positioning us to become a leading supplier and developer of new materials,” says Leese.

"The semiconductor industry continuously demands fresh materials and architectures to improve power, performance and density to deliver next- generation advanced technology products," adds Arvind Sodhani, president of Intel Capital (the sole investor in financing Epichem in October 2005). “Epichem is an innovator in semiconductor materials and the combination with Sigma-Aldrich brings together complementary strengths.”