Oxford Instruments (FTSE: OXIG)


Oxford Instruments is a company with a vested interest in graphene research and industry. It is also a company with quite a rich and recent heritage of innovation. As the first commercial spin-out company from Oxford University, Oxford Instruments developed the world’s first superconducting magnet in 1959.  This led to the development of MRI instrumentation, which changed the face of medical diagnostics. There are now over 30,000 MRI systems in the world, and Oxford Instruments was involved in supplying one third of them.

Now the company’s aim is to pursue responsible development and deeper understanding of the world through science and technology.  Oxford Instrument’s ability to fabricate, analyse and manipulate matter at the smallest scale means that they can supply new generation tools and systems for industrial and research markets which directly support the global issues of environmental protection, energy conservation and security.

The company is  a world-wide business, supplying commercially successful, high-tech tools and systems into diverse markets which include industry, energy, the environment, health and research.  Oxford Instruments has a global reputation for its technical skills and expertise, focusing its science and technology on providing the scientific and commercial communities with the right tools to support their work.  This expertise includes the creation of low temperature, high magnetic field and ultra high vacuum environments; X-ray, electron and optical based metrology; nuclear magnetic resonance, and advanced semiconductor processing technologies.

  • Launched on the UK Stock Exchange in 1983 (OXIG)
  • Entered FTSE250 in 2011
  • Over 30 offices and factories in Europe, USA, China and Japan
  • Over 1900 employees worldwide
  • Global distribution and support network
  • Culture of innovation drives growth and success
  • The “Voice of the Customer” shapes new product development
  • Ability to observe and manipulate matter at the smallest scale unlocks the potential in the emerging nanotechnology markets
  • Oxford Instruments’ products support those customers addressing the global issues of protecting the environment, conserving energy, health and safety

The company’s half year report published Sept 2011 announced that the Group delivered an excellent first half result driven by new product introductions, and a market environment which had remained robust for its products.

Revenue grew by 41% to £159 million (2010: £113 million); excluding acquisitions, organic growth was 30%.

Adjusted profit before tax grew by 76% to £18.7 million (2010: £10.6 million).

In the half year the adjusted operating margin continued to increase, rising to 11.9% from 10.5% in the prior year in line with the company’s 14 Cubed plan to achieve operating margins of 14% by 2014.

In September 2011, the Group was admitted to the FTSE250 index.

Group order intake increased to £175 million, a rise of 24%, and the order pipeline and other forward looking indicators remain strong. Orders in China grew particularly strongly, up 53% and in recognition of the potential of the India market the company has now appointed a senior executive as a Country Manager for that region.

Both research and industrial markets continue to be strong, enabling the company to maintain pricing in the period.

R&D cash spend increased by 42% to £10.5 million, reflecting the opportunities Oxford Instruments see to increase market share through the introduction of new technologies.
The company also completed two acquisitions in the first half of the year financed through a placing of ordinary shares. Omicron, based in Frankfurt, which employs 206 people in Germany, the UK, USA, Japan and France, designs and produces advanced microscopes and chemical analysis instruments for nanotechnology research.

Whilst the second acquisition, Omniprobe, a US company employing 22 people based in Dallas, designs and produces tools giving customers nano-scale laboratory capabilities within electron microscopes. These businesses are integrating well into the Group and are performing to plan.

After the end of the period we acquired Platinum Medical Imaging, a US company providing high quality parts and services for MRI and CT medical imaging instruments.

In the last six month period the share price has increased from a low of 700p to a high of 1180p, a performance that really does suggest the company has got something right.

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