February 6, 2018 / 11:16 AM / 14 days ago

'Any size of deal is possible,' says chipmaker AMS

ZURICH (Reuters) - High-flying Austrian chipmaker AMS (AMS.S) is looking for more acquisitions to accelerate growth and increase its leading position in sensors used in phones, automobiles and industrial gear, its chief executive said on Tuesday.

“Any size of deal is possible, I am not ruling out anything in terms of size,” Alexander Everke told Reuters.

“We are looking for companies who have the best differential technology to gain leadership in those areas. We are looking at technology, not revenue,” he said.

The CEO said AMS was not just focused on acquiring technology used in phones: “We see a lot of other applications emerging now ... We are talking to automotive companies, who are talking about putting facial recognition into their cars, we see it in the industrial space for extra security,” Everke said.

“In China, they are thinking of putting facial recognition in every taxi to recognize the driver and passengers. There is a lot of momentum right now going on because a lot of application customers are thinking about how to use this technology.”

The Swiss-quoted company could use its own cash flow, shares or the proceeds of a new 600 million euro bond to buy companies, Everke said.

Money could also be raised by seeking a secondary listing in Hong Kong, he said. How much could be raised here and when this might take place would be settled in the next 12 months.

‘WHATEVER IS NEEDED’

Software companies were of interest as well as hardware companies, chipmakers or optical specialists, Everke said. “Whatever is needed we will do.”

AMS on Tuesday announced the purchase of Swiss facial recognition software company KeyLemon as it reported a tenfold rise in quarterly profit on the back of hot demand for sensors used in smartphones such as Apple (AAPL.O) iPhones.

    Everke said AMS was looking for companies working in optical, imaging, audio and environmental technology.

    “The revenue will come automatically. If it is a company with great technology and market presence, with large revenue, that is fine, but the pure reason is technology, to enhance our portfolio and potential market access,” he said.

    AMS’s success has prompted speculation by analysts that the company itself could eventually become a takeover target.

    Everke said AMS wanted to remain independent and concentrate on its fast-growth strategy, which is based on increasing the amount of content it sells for each mobile phone.

    “I strongly believe that being independent with the portfolio and the strategy we have is creating significantly more value than being part of another company,” he said.

    “We have a unique position - we are the only mid-sized company focussing on sensors. We have small competitors and large competitors where sensors are not the core of the company.”

    Reporting by John Revill; Editing by Kirsti Knolle, Eric Auchard and Mark Potter

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