Germany - Merck KGaA and Avecia of Manchester, U.K.,
announced today that Merck has acquired the OLED (organic
light-emitting diodes) materials and the polymer electronics
businesses of Avecia for EUR 50 million in cash. The
transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval
and approval by E. Merck OHG, is expected to be completed
during the first quarter of 2005.
The acquisition includes
Covion Organic Semiconductors GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany,
a leader in the design, development and manufacture
of high quality OLED materials. It also includes Avecia's
polymer electronics research and development activities
based in Manchester.
Both the Covion OLEDs
and the polymer electronics activities will be integrated
into Merck's Liquid Crystals Division. Approximately
100 employees in these two units will transfer to
Merck upon completion of the sale.
"It is apparent
that liquid crystal displays will be the dominant
flat-panel technology for some years to come,"
Merck Chairman Bernhard Scheuble said. "During
2004, Merck further strengthened its world-market
leadership position in liquid crystals, especially
for the most promising high-end television applications.
We see this acquisition as an opportunity to explore
alternative technologies for the future, which is
a prudent step for any market leader."
Avecia Chief Executive Officer, said: "Merck
is a leading supplier of organic materials for LCDs
with an excellent infrastructure service for the flat
panel displays market. The company is, therefore,
ideally positioned to take these new technologies
forward to the next stage of their development."
While Covion is mainly
focused on developing future applications for OLEDs,
it also manufactures OLED materials for commercial
applications. Covion had sales of approximately EUR
8 million in 2004. It was formed in 1999 by Avecia
and Aventis Research & Technologies and was fully
acquired by Avecia in 2002. Covion's manufacturing
and R&D operations are located in the Hoechst
Industrial Park in Frankfurt.
OLEDs are extremely
thin semi-conducting organic polymers suitable for
a wide variety of applications, including light sources
and displays. They are made by placing a series of
organic thin films between two conductors. When electric
current is applied, they emit light.
will increasingly be used in applications such as
solar cells, organic TFTs (thin film transistors),
RFID (radio-frequency identification) tags, and other
Merck is the world's
leading maker of liquid crystals used in flat panel
televisions, computer monitors, laptops, cell phones
and other display applications. Within its Liquid
Crystals Division, it is already investigating the
future potential of OLEDs. In December, Merck acquired
the OLED research and development project of Schott
AG of Mainz, Germany, to further investigate lighting
applications. Merck also has its own polymer electronics
research and development laboratory in Chilworth,
Avecia is a leading privately-owned specialty chemical
company with key locations in the UK and USA. The
Company operates in two divisions where it holds leading
industry positions – Biotechnology and Chemicals (incorporating
Pharmaceuticals, Fine Chemicals and Electronic Materials).
For further information
about Avecia, please contact:
Andrew Smalley, Public
Tel: +44 (0)161 721 2441
Mobile: +44 (0)7802 773604