Excelsys employs 38 people, mostly based in Little Island, Cork, with a small number of staff in the US and China, to where it outsources manufacturing.
Nasdaq-listed Advanced Energy, based in Colorado, had sales of €428m last year and employs 1,500 people there and in California, Texas, Massachusetts, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and China.
It designs and manufactures power-control products that enable complex semiconductor processes, high-voltage power systems, precision temperature measurement and which control electronics and power control modules for key industrial applications.
Excelsys, which had sales of €10.2m last year, was majority-owned by chief executive Gary Duffy, a serial entrepreneur who relocated the business from Swords and has grown it with the help of a group of design engineers recruited from Cork. Fellow serial entrepreneurs Frank and Seamus Devitt, who originally founded the business, also held small stakes, it is understood, while most employees had shares in the business.
Enterprise Ireland and a small number of external shareholders also had small stakes.
Seamus Devitt was ceo of Dublin-based bin and waste-collection-monitoring firm Smartbin, which was sold to US firm OnePlus, a leader in the sector, last year.
It is believed that the Devitts took money off the table in 2015 after a management buy-out led by Duffy and backed by global investment firm Bluebay Asset Management, which then valued it at close to €10m.
In addition, it is understood that a seven-figure sum of cash that was already in Excelsys was also distributed to the shareholders in addition to the €15.5m cash from Advanced Energy. The most recent accounts for the year to December 31, 2015 showed over €3m in shareholders’ funds in the holding company at that time. There was no debt in the business at the time of the sale.
Speaking to the Sunday Independent about the sale, Duffy said: “Fifty per cent of what we sell is for medical machines and about 40pc for industrial use, including robotics and machine tools.
“These are mission-critical machines that the customers, who are the top companies in these sectors, cannot afford to have fail.
“We also sell to military customers, who use our products in radar and communication devices.”
Its products are also used in indoor and outdoor LED lighting products, as well as aerospace and avionics applications, according to the Excelsys website.
Duffy said: “We’re delighted that Advanced Energy wanted to buy us for our technology and our people.
“Admittedly, there needs to be a greater opportunity for Ireland to hold on to small high-tech companies like Excelsys.
“Organisations such as Enterprise Ireland and to an extent the Irish stock market have roles to play in that.
“I also speak as someone who spent six years on the board of the IDA and I’d be confident in saying that I think the IDA would be happy that Advanced Energy now has a presence here in Ireland.”
Yuval Wasserman, ceo of Advanced Electronics, said: “The acquisition of Excelsys is part of our ongoing strategy to grow and diversify our industrial business by adding to our robust portfolio.
“With a complementary platform of electronic-power supplies for mission-critical applications, Excelsys joins our specialty power division, increasing our presence in new areas within medical equipment, metrology, lasers and general industrial applications.”