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18 September 2006


Unaxis changes name to OC Oerlikon

The change of name of Unaxis Group of Pfäffikon, Switzerland, which provides production systems, components, and services for thin-film, vacuum and
precision technology, to OC Oerlikon Corporation AG has been entered into the commercial register in Switzerland. The global change of the group's name will therefore be completed in September, as planned.

Thus, 100 years after the company was first founded, the group is reverting to its original name of Oerlikon, a name "resonant of typical Swiss values and strengths [quality, reliability, precision and inventiveness]," says chairman Georg Stumpf. As a consequence, the stock exchange symbol on the Swiss Exchange SWX will be changed from UNAX to OERL. "We remain committed to Switzerland as a production and research location," added Stumpf.

Oerlikon employs about 6500 staff across about 80 subsidiaries in 25 countries. In fiscal 2005, the company recorded sales of CHF1.6bn.

In February, to "give rise to a more close-knit corporate culture and a uniform market image and presence", the new management of Unaxis decided to rebrand the company, accompanied by a fundamental reorganization that brings all business units under the new umbrella brand (approved by shareholders at the company's ordinary general meeting in May).

In 2005, almost the whole board of directors was renewed, seen as a precondition for implementing changes to achieve a turnaround. At the time, the group consisted of eight independently managed business areas with
inefficient cost structures which failed to exploit potential synergies, the company says. The new structure splits the business areas into four segments, according to core technology as well as systems and services:

  • Oerlikon Balzers Coating, with its systems business (which includes data storage, media and solar cell manufacturing systems), now incorporating the
    wafer-equiment division (the financial results of which will no longer be separated out).
  • Oerlikon ESEC Semiconductor (the former ESEC chip assembly back-end equipment division).
  • Oerlikon Components (whose Optics business in June acquired a stake in VCSEL-maker Novalux Inc of Sunnyvale, CA, USA), and
  • Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum, which makes vacuum subsystems used in semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

"The new brand name plays a pivotal role in our new strategic realignment and in the growth and profit goals of our group," says CEO Thomas P. Limberger. The new name stands for "a fresh start and growth, while also symbolizing loyalty to the company's industrial traditions," he adds.
"Clear-cut values like Swiss quality, reliability and innovation are also associated with this move," explains Andreas Harting, global head of Sales and Marketing. "The name change is an important symbol for employees and
customers, investors and partners."

The company says that bringing all business units under a single name also gives:

  • Greater visibility and more effective marketing for the company as a whole.
  • Greater appeal of the company's capabilities and strengths from a unified image.
  • Improved transparency of business operations, especially for analysts and investors.
  • More efficient organization, from services, human resources and IT to asset management, and research and development (likewise for the operation of international branches and for communications).
  • More synergies in product development and in manufacturing and sales through stronger networking between the company's more than 800 researchers and developers.

"The unification under a single umbrella brand will generate synergies and cut costs," says Harting. Up to this point, business units existed completely separate from one another. Employees were not familiar with products and activities of fellow group companies, and the various entities had little to do with each other in other respects. "Now is the time for all of us to join forces," adds Harting. "The major elements of the new brand are already in place. Further ones are being planned."

Visit: http://www.oerlikon.com