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AEM to buy Finnish semiconductor equipment maker Afore for 7.6m euros

AEM Holdings is acquiring Finnish semiconductor manufacturing equipment maker Afore Oy for 7.58 million euros (S$12.3 million) in cash and shares.

The consideration for the deal will be split into 4.97 million euros (S$8.08 million) in cash and 867,555 new AEM shares valued at S$4.24 million, or S$4.8887 per share.

The issue price of the consideration shares represents a 1.6 per cent discount to AEM's closing price of S$4.97 on Wednesday. Trading was halted on Thursday for the announcement of the deal.

The consideration shares, which will represent about 1.3 per cent of AEM's enlarged share capital, will be issued to Vesa Henttonen, the founder and managing director of Afore, who holds a 37.7 per cent stake in the target. The other selling shareholders of Afore are receiving only cash.

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AEM said that Afore will provide AEM with high-performance test capabilities and solutions in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), which AEM sees as a high-growth semiconductor end-market. AEM intends to use Afore's capabilities to expand its product and customer portfolio in the semiconductor and industrials sectors.

Said AEM's executive chairman Loke Wai San on the acquisition: "Afore Oy adds access to yet another exciting market benefiting from global technology megatrends and stands out as the most advanced MEMS test solution available for wafer level chip scale packages."

Afore posted net profit of S$1.56 million for the nine months ended Sept 30, 2017.

AEM also announced on Thursday that current chief operating officer Chok Yean Hung will take over as chief executive officer (CEO) following the retirement of current CEO Charles Cher, who will step down by March 31. Mr Cher will remain as a senior adviser to the AEM board.

AEM also expanded its senior management team with the promotion of Goh Meng Kiang to vice-president (VP) of operations, Soh Wai Kong to VP of finance, and the appointment Chua Tat Ming as VP of engineering.

Mr Cher said: "Chok Yean Hung's deep knowledge of our business, his strong partnership with me and AEM management over the years, and the respect he receives from our employees and customers places him uniquely to continue driving AEM's strong performance."

Incoming CEO Mr Chok said: "We are grateful for Charles' many contributions to AEM, and I look forward to leading AEM through this exciting phase of its global business growth. The combined energies of our newly expanded management team add depth and breadth to the leadership at AEM as we take on increasingly diversified growth opportunities worldwide."

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