Fastmarkets: Vital Materials acquires German company FHR Anlagenbau

China-based minor metals producer Vital Materials has acquired the Germany-based company FHR Anlagenbau, Vital told Fastmarkets on Friday March 20.

The company - with headquarters in Ottendorf-Okrilla in Dresden, Germany - will be integrated into Vitals’ thin film material business unit.

The transaction completed on March 17 includes all assets, tangible and non-tangible from the previous owner Centrotherm International, based in Blaubeuren, Germany.

FHR is engaged in developing industrial scale vacuum-based equipment for thin film deposition on flexible and rigid substrates. The company standardizes mass production equipment in the field of photovoltaics, precision optics and opto-electronics.

The minor metals that are used in the field of opto-electronics and photovoltaics include germanium and indium.

“This new combination extends the market reach for all parties and opens new high-growth markets for the company,” Olivier Bracher, vice president of Vital Thin Film Materials, said. “Vital will continue to grow and invest to extend downstream capabilities to support our customers."

This purchase is in line with Vital's recent trend of acquisitions. In early February 2020, Vital Materials acquired specialty chemicals company Lanxess' organometallics business, located in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

Vital has been also expanding its raw material procurement, after purchasing vast stocks from the defunct Fanya Metal Exchange, including 3,609 tonnes of indium and 92.3 tonnes of germanium stocks, among other minor metals.

Earlier this month, the company announced it would double production of germanium-based infrared lenses used in infrared thermometers to help combat the coronavirus outbreak.

Despite the renewed demand, market participants believe a substantial increase in germanium consumption - and support to germanium prices - is unlikely due to adequate supply.

Fastmarkets’ weekly price assessment for germanium 99.999% Ge min, in-whs China was 7,000-7,600 yuan ($1,007-1,093) on Friday March 18, unchanged since February 19.

With this acquisition, Vital Materials increased its international presence to 12 countries. The minor metals producer has eight sites across China, four in Qingyuan, a pigment plant in Tianjin, a Thinfilm plant in Hefei, a semi-conductor plant in Chongqing and a smelter plant in Hunan.

Cristina Belda

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