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AIP sells Brooks Instrument and Ichor Systems

The private equity group has sold off Brooks, an MFC manufacturer, and Ichor, a gas and fluid management product producer, which both serve the LED market

American Industrial Partners (AIP), which is focused on acquiring and improving North American-headquartered industrial businesses, has announced the sale of Brooks Instrument (“Brooks”) and Ichor Systems (“Ichor”). 

The terms of both transactions have not been disclosed.

Brooks is a global provider of low flow and pressure / vacuum analytical instruments to a worldwide customer base in a variety of end markets including microelectronics, LED, and alternative energy. AIP acquired Brooks from Emerson Electric in December 2007, and the sale marks the second significant realisation for American Industrial Partners Capital Fund IV, L.P (“Fund IV”) in the past week.

Headquartered in Hatfield, PA, Brooks has around 800 employees in 18 locations in 13 countries. The company’s products are used to regulate the flow rates of gases and liquids in laboratory and process environments and include thermal mass flow controllers used in MOCVD reactors. MFCs are mission critical and configured to address the specific technical requirements in the growth of compound semiconductors. Brooks serves over 9,000 customers in 75 countries with an installed base of over 1.5 million instruments.

“The Brooks investment is a demonstrative case study of the effectiveness of American Industrial Partners’ operating approach,” said Eric Baroyan, a Partner at AIP. “Our team is primarily comprised of engineers and operators who support management in achieving the growth objectives for their business. By acquiring and commercialising intellectual property, supporting new product development, developing efficient manufacturing processes, optimising procurement, and consolidating a global manufacturing footprint, Brooks more than doubled revenue and tripled EBITDA during our investment period.”

Clark Hale, Chief Executive Officer of Brooks, said, "Brooks has long been a highly-respected brand with a loyal global customer base. However, it was the support and commitment of the entire American Industrial Partners team that enabled us to achieve the step change in product offerings, operating efficiency, and financial performance over the last few years. We greatly value American Industrial Partners’ contribution to the success of our company and look forward to continued growth under new ownership.

On December 30, 2011, AIP also sold Ichor Systems to Francisco Partners, another technology-focused private equity firm.

Ichor is a designer and manufacturer of process tools, gas delivery modules, and chemical delivery modules purchased by original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) for use in the global semiconductor, alternative energy, LED, data storage, and flat panel display markets. AIP acquired Ichor in October 2009 at the trough of the semiconductor equipment market.

Headquartered in Tualatin, OR, Ichor employs about 540 people over a global footprint, including operations in Malaysia and Singapore. The Company’s gas and fluid management products and systems are used to produce microelectronic semiconductor chips, solar panels, LEDs, superconductor wire and thin film magnetic heads. Ichor has established strategic relationships with leading OEMs and serves as a design partner and outsourced manufacturer for its customers’ most critical products.

"We see a real opportunity for Ichor Systems to build upon its operational strengths, global workforce and deep industry relationships to drive growth," said Andrew Kowal, a partner at Francisco Partners and head of the firm's semiconductor and hardware investment activities. "Francisco Partners brings significant experience from more than a decade of investments in the semiconductor and related industries, and we will work closely with Ichor Systems' management team to capitalise on these opportunities."

Dipanjan Deb, managing partner of Francisco Partners, added, "The investment in Ichor Systems represents the latest in a series of semiconductor investments we have made over the years and reflects our continued commitment to investing in the semiconductor and capital equipment industries. We plan to build upon Ichor Systems' successes and will provide the resources needed to expand the company's market leadership."

David Shimmon, chief executive officer of Ichor Systems said, "American Industrial Partners had both a unique insight into the semi industry at its 2009 trough and the deep technical skills to successfully work with management to execute numerous operational enhancements. During management’s partnership with American Industrial Partners, Ichor has diversified into entirely new product markets and developed industry leading operational capabilities in Asia. The Ichor team greatly values American Industrial Partners’ contribution to the success of the company and, with this chapter in our development now concluded, we look forward to continued growth.”

He added, "In Francisco Partners, we have found the truly unique partner who brings historical investment experience in our specific market, a rich network, and strong expertise in the semiconductor, LED, and technology markets broadly," said. "We look forward to leveraging Francisco Partners' insights and capabilities as we support and grow with our customers." 
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