Merck acquires phosphor manufacturer Litec-LLL GmbH

Litec is best known for its ortho-silicate materials, and Merck says the acquisition is further step to strengthen activities in innovative lighting materials.

Merck KGaA, the global pharmaceutical and chemical company, has acquired Litec-LLL GmbH, a company based in Greifswald, Germany, that specializes in the research, development and production of ortho-silicate lighting materials.

Ortho-silicates can be used as the wavelength-conversion material in white LEDs. The acquisition of Litec, which was founded in 2002, gives Merck access to this "future-oriented" business.

Merck says that since 2005 it has been pursuing research and development of materials such as YAG and TAG, which are the more commonly used alternatives to ortho-silicates.

Litec is a co-assignee, along with Toyoda Gosei, Tridonic Optoelectronics and Leuchstoffwerk Breitungen GmbH of US patent 6,943,380 (WO02/05450, PCT/JP01/11628) entitled "Light emitting device having phosphor of alkaline earth metal silicate." Other related LED patents are 7,138,660 and 7,157,746.

By integrating Litec’s competencies, Merck says it will enter the market for "innovative, highly-efficient light sources". In turn, Merck’s global sales organization will have broader access to established Litec products.

Merck is taking over Litec’s 16 employees along with the company’s R&D, production, marketing & sales activities and established customer relationships. The site in Greifswald will be retained. The parties have agreed not to disclose the financial details of the transaction.

“The acquisition of Litec is a further strategic step in building a business with innovative light sources in the medium to long term,” explained Monika Kursawe, who heads the Advanced Materials unit at Merck Chemicals.

Walter Tews, Managing Director of Litec-LLL GmbH, added: “With Merck we have found a partner who will ensure, within the scope of its strategic plans, the professional continuation of our developments.”

Merck is pursuing the objective of developing suitable light sources capable of producing the most natural white light possible while retaining the recognized advantages of inorganic semiconductor LEDs such as longevity and high energy efficiency. For this purpose, Merck recently set up the MerckLab with the Münster University of Applied Sciences.

Merck is a global pharmaceutical and chemical company with total revenues of € 7.1 billion in 2007. The company is also a leading supplier of OLED materials.

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