October 20, 2006

Region Draws British Company

By: by Eric Anderson, Deputy Business Editor, Times Union


ALBANY -- A developer and manufacturer of advanced lithography equipment for the semiconductor industry will move its global headquarters from Cambridge, England, to Watervliet, and plans to create as many as 130 jobs in the Capital Region.

The move is expected to be announced today at a news conference at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering at the University at Albany.

Vistec Lithography Ltd., formerly Leica Microsystems Lithography Ltd., will base its manufacturing, marketing and sales, and global headquarters at Watervliet Arsenal. Its research and development operations will be based at UAlbany.

"Obviously, this is a huge announcement for the area and for me personally," said Assemblyman Ronald Canestrari, D-Cohoes, whose district includes the arsenal. "What we have is one of the world's major companies in the nanotechnology field relocating its global headquarters" to the Capital Region.

Vistec is receiving $18 million from the Assembly's capital appropriation fund and $12 million from a capital appropriation earmarked in the state budget, Canestrari said.

The company is expected to move 20 to 25 people from the United Kingdom to the Capital Region. By the end of 2007, it is committed to employing 80 people in the Capital Region, and to creating another 50 jobs among suppliers, also in the Capital Region.

The jobs are expected to pay $50,000 to $100,000 annually.

"The money's important, obviously," Canestrari said. "But without the partnership between the arsenal and the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering, it wouldn't happen."

Canestrari said the Business & Technology Partnership at the arsenal played a key role in attracting Vistec.

Electron-beam lithography is considered key to further reducing the size of components and circuits on microprocessors. Vistec will train local suppliers and machine shops, adding high-tech jobs there, Canestrari said.

Vistec will be the latest company to set up shop at the UAlbany complex, joining IBM Corp., Sematech Inc., Tokyo Electron Ltd. and other semiconductor businesses there. Advanced Micro Devices Inc. -- which plans a $3.2 billion factory in Luther Forest Technology Campus in Saratoga County -- is a customer of Vistec, according to officials at UAlbany.

The announcement is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. today at the Albany Nanotech complex.

Vistec is a unit of privately held Vistec Semiconductor Systems, the former Leica Microsystems Semiconductor Equipment Division that was acquired by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital in September 2005 from Danaher Corp. Terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed.