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Atlas Copco sucks up UK vacuum firm Edwards

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Atlas Copco sucks up UK vacuum firm Edwards
13:14 CEST+02:00
Swedish industrial group Atlas Copco is set to acquire leading British vacuum technology firm Edwards Group Ltd. in an effort to expand into the growing market for sophisticated vacuum products.

Atlas Copco has agreed to pay up to $1.6 billion for the UK-headquartered Edwards, which trades on the Nasdaq exchange in New York.

"Edwards is a technology leader with a well-developed structure and solid customer relationships in industries we know well. It is a great fit for Atlas Copco," Ronnie Leten, President and CEO of Atlas Copco, said in a statement.

"The vacuum solutions market is growing and has similar characteristics to our existing industrial businesses."

Atlas Copco's offer price of $9.25 per share represents at least an 11 percent premium over Edwards' average value over the past month and will allow the Swedish company to expand into a the growing market of vacuum pumps used in semiconductor production.

"We recognize the strength Edwards has in its people and products as well as their excellence in technology and innovation. We are excited that this professional company will join our Group," said Leten.

Edwards, which employees 3,200 people, saw sales reach about $1 billion last year, with half coming from Asia.

Stockholm-based Atlas Copco, which manufactures products ranging from mining drills to air compressors, has nearly 40,000 employees world-wide and an estimated market value of 217 billion kronor ($33 billion), according to the Bloomberg news agency.

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