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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | ORANGE COUNTY BRIEFLY

Newport Is Shopping for Acquisitions

November 14, 2000|Bloomberg News

Newport Corp., a maker of equipment used to build semiconductors and fiber-optic parts, said it plans to make acquisitions to broaden its line of test, measurement and automation products.

"I won't say there's a wealth of companies out there, but we're looking every day," Newport Chief Executive Robert Deuster said Monday after a presentation to investors at the UBS Warburg Global Telecom Conference in New York.

The Irvine company wants to add machines that test, measure and automate the process of making parts found in fiber-optic telecommunications equipment, Deuster said. Demand for these machines is expected to soar as JDS Uniphase Corp. and its rivals look to produce more optical components at lower costs. Deuster declined to say whether Newport was close to reaching an agreement.

While Newport plans to pay for acquisitions with stock, it also could spend some of the proceeds from a recent sale of 3.1 million shares, Deuster said. The company has about $300 million in cash, he said.

"As long as our currency stays the way it is, we'd use stock," he said. "The cash is there when we need it."

Newport shares fell $5.75 to $80 Monday on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The stock has fallen nearly 25% over the last week, but still is up more than eightfold for the year.

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