The Acquisition of Anteryon

As part of our ongoing research into Chinese acquisitions in Europe, Datenna decided to highlight and research remarkable cases. This case considers the acquisition of the Dutch semiconductor company Anteryon.

Short read

  • Netherlands based Anteryon sold for 32,25 million in January 2019
  • Key semiconductor technology acquired by Chinese investors
  • Acquisition claimed by stock-listed China Wafer
  • Investment vehicle is actually 66% funded by the Chinese government
  • China Wafer’s largest investors are also government related

The sale of Anteryon

Jingfang Optoelectronics (WLOPT), in collaboration with Beauchamp Beheer, acquired the Dutch semiconductor company Anteryon. WLOPT is based in Suzhou (China). Beauchamp Beheer is a Dutch investment company. Anteryon was spun off from Philips in 2006 with the intention to mass produce wafer level optics and mobile phone camera modules. In January 2019 the acquisition of Anteryon by WLOPT was completed.  In exchange for 73% of the shares WLOPT paid €32.25 million.

Acquisition funded by the government

According to official statements Anteryon was acquired by the Chinese company Jingfang Optoelectronics (WLOPT). Chinese sources report China Wafer (a stock-listed company) as the acquirer. Suzhou Jinfang (WLOPT) is in fact a holding company owned by the Suzhou Jingfang Integrated Circuit Fund (99,999% of the shares). The fund, as well as WLOPT were only incorporated in August 2018, just before the acquisition of Anteryon. 

The largest shareholder of the fund is the ‘Investment Fund for Major Industrial Projects in Suzhou Industrial Park’ with 66% of the shares. The second shareholder is China Wafer Level CSP, with 33% of the shares.

Based on the actual ownership we can conclude that the acquisition of Anteryon is in majority (66%) financed by the Chinese government. The actual influence of the government is even higher, as China Wafer Level’s largest shareholders itself are also government entities.

The largest shareholder of China Wafer is also owned by the Suzhou Industrial Park. Another large investor in China Wafer is the National IC Fund (‘The Big Fund’) which owns another 9,5% of the shares.

Investment Fund for Major Industrial Projects in Suzhou Industrial Park

This fund, which (indirectly) owns 66% of the shares in Anteryon is controlled by the Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), a government entity in China. 79,9% of the shares are owned by the SIP Financial Bureau. The other 20,1% are owned by the SIP Economic Development Co Ltd. This state-controlled investment company is owned by the SIP Management Committee and is also the largest shareholder in China Wafer. As an illustration of the connection with the (central) government, the Joint Steering Committee of the SIP is chaired by vice-premier Han Zheng (member of the Politburo Standing Committee.

Access to key technologies

This acquisition is an important milestone in WLOPTs long-term growth strategy and provides WLOPT with access to key technologies for the development of miniaturized optical solutions for high-volume consumer applications, such as smartphones, next-generation security and automotive applications.

Anteryon delivers optical components and related services for business and consumer markets. Its core technologies comprise of a proprietary world class replication technique to produce high end hybrid optical lenses combined with ultraprecise glass and surface structuring, optical and mechanical coatings and opto-mechanical and electronic assemblies including Hyper Spectral Imaging. Industrial applications range from semiconductors, industrial sensing/scanning, construction, agriculture, medical and security. Consumer applications range from 3D scanning, AR/VR, Internet of Things, imaging and automotive.

Large scale production in China

They already have a few designs, for which they need our production technology to bring them to the market.

With this acquisition Anteryon expects to grow their sales significantly. With the production technology of Anteryon new products can be brought to the Chinese market. Currently Anteryon is mainly focussed on industrial applications, with the cooperation of China Wafer they expect to enter a new market of consumer electronics such as optical applications in the automotive sector, but also more sensitive technologies such as fingerprint scanners and facial recognition in mobile phones and tablets.

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China-EU FDI Radar

This case study is part of our ongoing research initiative investigating Chinese state-influenced acquisitions in the EU. The aim is to provide greater transparency on Chinese investments in Europe and the links with the Chinese government. It currently covers the period from 2010 to the present. Our findings are displayed on an interactive map.

The map utilizes our CUBO database to establish the degree of governmental influence in the acquiring company. It will be continuously updated.