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Cognex to Buy Moritex for US$274 Million

Stylized eye/data image

[Image: agsandrew / Getty Images]

Cognex Corp., a US-based supplier of machine-vision devices and systems for industry, has announced that it will acquire the Japan-based optical-components firm Moritex Corp. from Trustar Capital, the Chinese private-equity firm that has owned Moritex since 2016. The total price-tag of the all-cash transaction is ¥40 billion (US$274 million). Cognex expects the deal to close by the end of 2023 and looks for Moritex to begin contributing to the bottom line by 2025.

Eyes and brains

In a press release accompanying the announcement, Cognex president and CEO Robert Willet called the Moritex purchase “Cognex’s largest acquisition in our 42-year history.” He stressed the natural fit of Moritex’s products and technology with Cognex’s existing operation.

“Machine vision functions like the eye and brain of a human,” Willet said. “Cognex vision systems are akin to the brain, and Moritex optics, the eye.” Noting that Cognex has “long admired, and sold, Moritex optics” as part of its systems, he suggested that bringing the two companies together would enable development of “a more advanced and integrated offering” for machine-vision customers.

Willet also said the acquisition offered an opportunity to extend Cognex’s presence in the machine-vision market in Japan.

Willet also said the acquisition offered an opportunity to extend Cognex’s presence in the machine-vision market in Japan, where Moritex has deep roots and a strong market presence and where Cognex sees significant growth prospects for machine-vision technology. For his part, Takao Sato, Moritex’s CEO, maintained that the deal would position his company to “deliver our solutions to Cognex’s broad customer base, providing a more comprehensive machine-vision offering.”

Economic challenges

Cognex reckons that the purchased company will kick in 6%–8% of total revenue once Moritex has been absorbed into the Cognex structure. With respect to earnings, Cognex expects the acquisition “to be accretive to GAAP EPS in 2025.”

The Moritex purchase comes amid a challenging period for Cognex, attributable to ongoing weakness in the global economy. At the beginning of August, the machine-vision firm reported that its sales for the second quarter of calendar 2023 had softened by nearly 12% year to year, with a fractional decline in net income over the same period.

Cognex attributed the declines to “ongoing softness in e-commerce logistics” and to declines in demand for factory automation systems, especially in the consumer electronics and semiconductor manufacturing segments. Company CEO Willet particularly highlighted the disappointing recovery in China and slower-than-expected manufacturing activity in important markets such as Germany and the United States. The company said it expects the weakness to persist at least through the third quarter.

Publish Date: 31 August 2023

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