- Susan Salisbury Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Quantachrome Instruments, a scientific instrument developer and manufacturer based in Boynton Beach, has been acquired by Anton Paar, a global precision instrument company headquartered in Graz, Austria.
Quantachrome, founded in 1968 on Long Island, moved to Boynton Beach in 1994 after the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County spent five years trying to convince the firm to move to Palm Beach County.
The companies agreed to not disclose the purchase price of the acquisition which closed Feb. 9 at the Quantachrome headquarters in the Boynton Commerce Center, 1900 Corporate Drive.
Anton Paar officials said in a statement that 170-employee Quantachrome will continue operations in Boynton Beach under the Anton Paar Group. An expansion and modernization is planned at Quantachrome which makes scientific instruments to analyze materials and powders. Its equipment is used in nanotechnology work.
Scott Lowell, former president of Quantachrome, said, “I am pleased that an innovative and highly valued company such as Anton Paar will carry on what we have established, developed, and produced at Quantachrome.”
Quantachrome has subsidiaries in China and Japan and sells 25 instrument types in more than 50 countries.
David Black, a partner at Berger Singerman, Fort Lauderdale, who represented Quantachrome in the deal, said the Austrian company has a complementary offering of products. Acquiring Quantachrome enables it to integrate the subsidiary’s products into its supply chain.
Black said that many corporations have more cash on their balance sheets than at any time in our history.
“Companies hoarded cash through the Great Recession to shore up balance sheets to protect against the unknown,” Black said. “Companies have the cash now to go out and purchase competitors to take away the competition.”
At the same time, private equity funds are flush with money that must be invested.
Companies’ valuations are higher than at any time since the 2007-2009 recession, and people in their 60s and 70s who own companies are motivated to sell.
“All that is creating a perfect storm for sellers,” Black said.
Georg Cortolezi-Supp, executive director production & purchasing at Anton Paar will manage the new subsidiary which is the company’s seventh.
Anton Paar’s 2016 sales were $312 million, according to Chemical & Engineering Magazine. The company is active in 110 countries and employs 2,900 people worldwide. Its customers include most of the major beer and soft drink manufacturers worldwide as well as companies in the food, chemicals and pharmaceutical industries.
Anton Paar’s roots go back to 1922 when locksmith Anton Paar started a machine repair shop. He soon earned a reputation for excellent work which led to contacts with universities and research institutes.
Paar trained his daughter, Margarete Plater, in the 1920s and in 1932 she became the first female master locksmith in the Austrian state of Styria. Working with Professor Otto Kratky, she developed the company’s first scientific, analytical instrument, the Kratky Small Angle X-ray Camera. It is still the most widely used system of its type today.
After decades of family ownership, in 2003 the company was donated to the charitable Santner Foundation. While most of the company’s profits are reinvested in the company, a portion goes into the foundation. It invests in a non-profit called Offline, which works with people who are dealing with drug and alcohol addiction.