LONDON --- Filtronic plc , the British electronics group that has recently sold off its compound semiconductor division, that included Europe's largest GaAs foundry in Newton Aycliffe (England), and over the past two years most of its activities in wireless communications, incuding PAs in mobile handsets, looks set to be acquired by U.S. private equity group Carlyle.
The company's shares forged ahead by 19 percent, to 75.25 pence Friday (May 30), its biggest advance since October 1994, giving Shipley, England-based Filtronic a market value of £55.9 million ($111 million).
The private equity group confirmed it is "reviewing its options in respect of Filtronic, which could include an offer". However, it cautioned that the announcement "does not amount to a firm intention to make an offer and accordingly there can be no certainty that an offer will made."
Filtronic is a shell of a company compared to several years ago following recent disposals, including the compound semis division to U.S group RFMD for about $25 million, in a deal that provided for RF Micro to retain the fab, which is already a supplier of GaAs pHEMT semiconductors to RF Micro.
Founded in 1977, the company two years ago sold its Wireless Infrastructure business to another U.S. company, Powerwave Technologies Inc. for about £58 million (about $116 million).
The only other major divisions remaining include some of the the defense operations and the Point to Point division, focusing on transceiver modules and filters for backhaul microwave radios linking mobile base stations.
Last year the company said this moved into profitability and Filtronic said is "well positioned to exploit a growing market."
The company reported net income of £874,000 on sales of £27.2 million in the six months to November 2007.
Last month Filtronic said its remaining business "remains satisfactory" and pointed out that it had £114 million cash after the disposals.
Carlyle is best known for making £240 million from its four-year investment in another defence electronics company Qiniteq, where it bought a 30 percent stake from the U.K. government. The group was formerly the Defence & Energy Research Agency.
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