Crystalline growth equipment supplier GT Solar is venturing into new markets with the acquisition of privately held Crystal Systems, which manufactures high-quality, large-area sapphire substrates used in the LED, defense, medical and aerospace industries. Under the terms of the agreement, approximately US$24 million in cash, 5.4 million shares of GT Solar common stock, and a US$21 million cash earn-out secured the deal. Crystal Systems’ development and manufacturing operations are located in Salem, Massachusetts.
“Crystal Systems’ sapphire process knowledge complements our expertise in silicon growth technologies, and we believe this combination will allow us to quickly deliver products that leapfrog sapphire crystallization technology available from other suppliers,” noted Tom Gutierrez, GT Solar’s president and CEO. “We expect to capitalize on the attractive opportunities we have identified in equipment, LED, and high-tech specialty markets that require high-quality, low-cost crystalline substrates. Crystal Systems has a rich history of innovation and we believe the combination of their technical expertise supported by our proven global operating experience and available capital resources will accelerate the adoption of new low-cost, high-quality crystalline sapphire solutions.”
Fred Schmid, founder of Crystal Systems and the inventor of the Heat Exchanger Method or HEM process, will be joining GT Solar in a senior technical capacity, which is intended to enable the company to further accelerate the commercialization of this technology.
The move to acquire Crystal Systems was due to the rapid growth in the LED market.