Ox Instruments eyes big gains in nanotech with microscope deal

THE INCREASING levels of interest in nanotechnology have led technology group Oxford Instruments to spend up to $80m (£49.4m) on buying a US-based microscope manufacturer.

The deal for California’s Asylum Research, announced by Oxford Instruments yesterday, “significantly increases [the company’s] footprint in the nanotechnology space”, chief executive Jonathan Flint said.

The acquisition is the latest step in the firm’s plan to increase revenues by 14 per cent a year over the next two years.

Asylum Research’s technology scans items thousands of times too small for the naked eye, and represents them visually. The company’s products are in high-demand in the fast-growing nanotechnology sector, which now accounts for around half of Oxford Instruments’ revenues.

The deal will be paid for in cash, with $32m up front followed by $48m over the next few years depending on performance.

Asylum Research saw earnings of $1.1m on revenues of $19.6m last year, though Oxford Instruments said the deal – which will be done by the end of the year – will see Asylum’s earnings improve.