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FEI acquires oil and gas imaging specialist Lithicon

Fri, 02/07/2014 - 8:34am

FEI, a leading instrumentation company providing imaging and analysis systems for research and industry, today announced that it has acquired Lithicon AS of Trondheim, Norway and Canberra, Australia. Lithicon provides leading- edge digital rock technology services and pore-scale micro computed tomography (µCT, or microCT) equipment to oil and gas companies worldwide. In conjunction with the acquisition, FEI has obtained the helical scan microCT product and associated software from the Australia National University (ANU), through a licensing and development agreement.

"The acquisition of Lithicon and the microCT tool completes our digital rock workflow for the oil and gas market," said Don Kania, president and CEO of FEI. "This will significantly accelerate the growth of our served available market. We will integrate both Lithicon and the microCT product with the automated mineralogy capabilities in our Natural Resources business, the advanced 3D visualization and modeling expertise in our Visualization Sciences Group (VSG) and our electron microscopy leadership to provide a unique and powerful workflow solution for both conventional and unconventional oil & gas markets. Another important benefit will result from the expansion of microCT equipment sales into our other markets, where we believe there is a large demand for this technology and associated workflows."

"We are very pleased with FEI's acquisition of Lithicon," commented Lithicon Chairman Terje Eidesmo. "After learning more about FEI, its strengths and its plans, we are convinced of the synergies they will provide. CEO Odd Hjelmeland and the team have built Lithicon's technology and business successfully, and we believe this is the right time for us to hand over the reins to FEI."

"Combining with FEI gives Lithicon added financial strength, distribution capabilities and complimentary technical know-how to continue the company's growth," said Victor Pantano, the new general manager of Lithicon. "We believe digital rock technology is a needed breakthrough for the oil and gas industry, and the acquisition by FEI will allow Lithicon to take full advantage of this opportunity."

Lithicon is the result of the 2013 integration of two of the world's leading digital core imaging and analysis companies: Digitalcore Pty Ltd of Canberra, Australia and Numerical Rocks AS of Trondheim, Norway. The company combines Digitalcore's unique core imaging and processing expertise with Numerical Rocks' next-generation multiphase flow modeling capabilities to give it a leadership position in the emerging digital rock analysis market. Numerical Rocks is a 2004 spinoff from Statoil ASA, and Digitalcore was founded in 2009 based on technology developed at the ANU and the University of New South Wales.

The purchase price was $68 million. It was paid for with funds from FEI's European operations which otherwise would be subject to U.S. taxation if repatriated. The acquisition is projected to add approximately 1% to 2% to FEI's revenues for the balance of 2014. FEI expects the acquisition to be accretive to GAAP earnings in 2015 and slightly dilutive to GAAP earnings in 2014.

Source: FEI Company

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