M&A trends impacting the sensor technology and measurement market

In 2017, the German sensor and measurement market enjoyed a 9% growth in sales alongside an 18% increase in investments, indicating strong, sustained growth, and making observers optimistic for the market’s future (AMA Association for Sensor Technology + Measurement, 2017). This year, we expect a significant increase in sales across the industry. Sensor and measurement technologies are applicable in many of today’s modern technologies and are being used in areas such as automotive engineering, consumer electronics and healthcare to mechanical and plant engineering.

In the medium term, we expect the current positive M&A environment in the sector to continue based on two indicating factors. First, in the automotive sector, we look to advances in assistive and autonomous driving. With an increasing number of sensors and cameras being installed, vehicles are becoming increasingly intelligent, and the use of sensors, software solutions, and systems will only continue to increase significantly in the future. We predict that the number of sensors used in vehicles will most likely quadruple over the next few years, with a large portion of such components already available on the aftermarket at affordable prices. The automotive industry will be a key market for electronics suppliers as well as sensor companies.

Second, the automation market, which has been steadily growing for a decade – driven by the proliferation of data and the push to use it to drive efficiency and productivity – is expected to reach a market size of approximately USD 239bn by 2023, with an average annual growth rate of 7.4%. Key drivers include decreasing costs of automation and robotics and increasing productivity output and quality. Increases in automation are helping manufacturers and laboratories increase process throughput and reduce headcount, thereby lowering production costs. Likewise, production-integrated (inline) measurement technology will likely increase in importance and will likely be emphasized more in production plants.

Globally, we expect companies to continue to seek growth opportunities through acquisitions in the sensor and instrumentation market – to both increase organic growth and to ensure they stay up to speed on the latest technology developments and not fall behind the competition. In addition, companies from adjacent sectors, such as chip manufacturers, software companies, and automotive suppliers will also be interested in takeovers as they seek to secure an innovative product offering through acquisitions.

Livingstone has significant expertise within the sensors market, including acting as an active consultant to ams AG, one of the world’s leading suppliers of sensors and sensor solutions. We also advised on the acquisition of CMOSIS International NV, a leading supplier of high-end CMOS image sensors for area and line scanning for high-end imaging applications. Further references to our work in the sensor and measuring technology sector include, Nu Instruments, Ray Spec, HEL Group and acam-messelectronic .

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