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CdZnTe fab faces uncertain future

II-VI's decision to sell eV Products emerges from a background of tough competition from incumbent technologies for its X-ray and gamma-ray sensors.

Employees at radiation detector company eV Products are facing an anxious wait as its owner, II-VI Inc., looks to find a buyer for the subsidiary.

II-VI s chief financial officer Craig Creaturo told compoundsemiconductor.net that so far eV s 60 employees have not been offered any reassurance of their future, beyond his company's official statement.

In that April 4 announcement, II-VI said that Roth Capital Partners is currently hunting on its behalf for interested parties to buy the vertically-integrated maker of systems based on CdZnTe detectors (see related stories).

Every stage of the manufacturing process - from crystal growth to detector processing and final system assembly - is performed in eV Products 35,000 m2 Saxonburg, Pennsylvania, fab. From this site, the company sells over 10,000 detectors annually, generating revenues of $8.5 million for the year ended June 30 2007.

Writing about eV products in its 2007 annual report, II-VI said, “We believe we are the leading supplier of CdZnTe substrates and devices for x-ray and gamma-ray sensors and components.”

It says eV s customers are mainly makers of equipment for medical imaging, defense, nuclear and other industrial applications. “We are currently dependent on a limited number of key customers for this product line and face strong competition from suppliers of products based on incumbent and legacy technology,” II-VI wrote.

The search for buyers interested in eV comes within weeks of a change in strategy at fellow telluride-detector company EPIR, which has now established a collaboration to increase its own addressable market. The Illinois-based company is now using its HgCdTe infra-red sensor knowledge to develop CdTe photovoltaic cell products, and both lines will be marketed by its partner Sunovia (see related stories).

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