QMT Features: July 2007
Metris continues fast growth
Innovative measurement technologies, a focus on growth and an aggressive acquisition strategy are delivering impressive results for metrology company, Metris. By Brendan Coyne

Metris is a company to watch in the world of measurement. In its short history since its inception in 1995, Metris has come from zero to become a major global player with revenues of €62m, and with a track record of innovation and aggressive acquisition. This year, the company went public, raising €100m and is now listed on Euronext Brussels as MTRS. Head quartered in Leuven, Belgium,  Metris designs, develops and markets a unique range of 3D hardware and software inspection systems for the automotive and aerospace sectors. It offers world-class metrology solutions for both design and manufacturing communities with a comprehensive product family covering  a full range of measurement volumes, in both fixed and portable configurations and with optical and touch sensors.

Bart Van Coppenolle, president and CEO, says, “2006 was the most exciting and value creating year so far in the short history of Metris. Three acquisitions ( LK, Arc Second and 3D Scanners) were almost simultaneously closed at the beginning of the year.” Such  rapid acquisition might prove a problem to digest for some companies - an issue that Van Coppenolle is aware of and he views integration as critical to the ongoing success of Metris. Clearly, the company pays a lot of attention to this  process. “The integration of these acquisitions was successfully completed by the end of  September. At the same time , a 4th smaller acquisition (3D engineering Solutions Ltd.) was closed, also now smoothly integrated.” Commenting further, Van Coppennolle said, “The main goal of the acquisitions was to complete the product portfolio of Metris. After the 2006 acquisitions the puzzle (i.e. the graphical representation of the product portfolio) is now almost complete. Although further product and technology acquisitions aren’t ruled out in the future, the main focus for future acquisitions is now on market share and channels to the market, such as integration and service organisations.”

In line with Metris’ strategy to expand market share by acquisition, the company recently announced the agreement to purchase Coord3, an Italian coordinate measuring machine manufacturer, with headquarters in Turin. This acquisition expands  Metris’s customer base by 2300 installations. “We can offer these  new Metris customers an upgrade path to our innovative optical technologies such as laser scanning,”  says Bart Van Coppenolle. In addition, the Coord 3 expands the range of CMM products the company can offer to the market.

Explosive growth

The market Metris focuses on is referred to by analysts as the micro segment of the metrology market. This market has been estimated by analysts Frost & Sullivan to be  €2,3 billion in 2005 and growing at a 8% CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) for 2006 to 2010. With about 2,5% market share, Metris is positioning itself as the challenger in the market featuring one of most complete product and service portfolio and offering  technologies such as Laser Radar and iGPS, some of which are unique in the micro metrology market.

 In addition to completing its desired strategic product mix, Metris has achieved explosive sales growth over the last two years. The company grew by a factor of 2.5 in 2005 and 3.35 in 2007 to generate sales of €62M, largely through acquisition. Though, it is fair to point out, that the company’s organic growth was also strong at about 20%, spread  across all its geographical and business sectors.This is in line with its stated objectives, which are to achieve double digit growth and to realize above market average EBITDA margins.  A third objective is to achieve product leadership in the micro metrology market. A key element of the strategy is technology and a good example of its leadership in innovative technologies  is the K-robot, (featured above).l

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