News Article

Riber Buys Oxford Instruments' MBE Group

The transfer of the MBE business "“ and particularly the rights to provide after-sales support for installed reactors "“ looks to suit both tool makers' ongoing strategies.

French molecular beam epitaxy equipment supplier Riber has strengthened its market position by purchasing Oxford Instruments Plasma Technology s competing tool business.

The deal immediately transferred the rights to OIPT's technology and after-sales business when it was signed on September 22. No employees will be exchanged, nor will OIPT make any redundancies following the deal, although some stock will move between the companies.

Riber has paid an initial €450,000 ($665,000) and follow-on payments of €400,000 are due to the UK company based on future spares sales. This underlines Riber s intention to use the deal to develop its equipment support revenues.

“This will strengthen Riber s after-sales business, which has increased by 35 percent in 2008," the company said in a statement.

There are currently in the region of 300 OIPT reactors in use around the world, and these will now grow Riber's total installed base to 800.

OIPT says that in recent years the turnover of the MBE division has averaged €1.2 million. Jean-Pierre Regner, president of Riber s executive board, told compoundsemiconductor.net that this revenue now comes exclusively from spares and support.

“There have been no sales of this equipment over the last year," he said.

The MBE reactors that Riber offers are sufficiently advanced to mean that it does not need the designs sold by OIPT to broaden its offering, Regner explained. “We will not promote this equipment, but we will be open if people want to make a special deal," he said.

Riber s system support business has recently benefited both from organic growth and its acquisition of component supplier Addon. By contrast, an MBE business relying on supporting already-installed reactors looks increasingly out of place as Oxford Instruments focuses on fast-growing sectors like LED manufacturing.

OIPT s MBE technology originally stemmed from its buyout of Thermo VG Semicon in 2003. Prior to the Riber deal OIPT still offered the V100 system that VG Semicon then claimed was the most widely used MBE system for GaAs mass production.

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