All change as Oxford Instruments plans for the future

Leading instrumentation developer Oxford Instruments this week said nanotechnology would move to the heart of its corporate strategy.

The company told shareholders its profits would be hit over the next two years as it invested for the future in ‘the high growth sectors of nanotechnology, molecular bioscience and environmental monitoring.’

According to chief executive Jonathan Flint, these emerging markets will demand a new generation of analytical systems for both physical and biological applications that Oxford Instruments is in pole position to deliver.

‘From chemical and material analysis to molecular structure and atomic deposition, we will expand our offering of tools focused on atomic and molecular level problems,’ he said.

‘Because we are focused on providing tools, as distinct from nano-engineered products, we will be well placed to benefit from the early stages of development of this new industry.’

‘A key task for me will be to manage smoothly and successfully the transition between old product lines and the new business model,’ added Flint, who said the company will spend £5m extra developing new products this year alone.

Oxford Instruments, which has already sold its medical division, is undergoing ‘immense change’ as it moves towards its future objectives, according to its year-end financial results statement.

Turnover grew slightly to £156m last year, but profits remained flat at £8m, suffering from adverse exchange rate factors to the tune of around £2m.

The group’s microanalysis and industrial products business grew its profits for the fifth year in a row, but in its superconductivity division lower magnet sales hit profits hard.