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Nova Seeks to Grow 3-D Chip Process Control Share, CEO Says

Nova Measuring Instruments Ltd. is targeting acquisitions as the developer of measuring systems for the semiconductor industry seeks to expand process control products to boost revenue, Chief Executive Gabi Seligsohn said.

Nova Measuring, which yesterday said it received $15 million in orders from semiconductor foundries, has $90 million in cash, according to Seligsohn. The company’s expansion plan comes as chipmakers from Intel Corp. to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. integrate optical metrology directly into the silicon wafer manufacturing process as they ready production of three-dimensional chips to power mobile devices including tablets and smartphones.

“We have been looking at a variety of opportunities for acquisitions for hardware companies with a software component,” said Seligsohn in an interview at Bloomberg’s Tel Aviv offices. “We are looking at companies that broaden the scope of our process control solutions.”

There have been 18 acquisitions of semiconductor equipment manufacturers this year, including the $2.4 billion purchase of laser-inspection maker Cymer Inc. by Netherlands’ ASML Holding NV announced Oct. 17, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Nes Ziona, Israel-based company’s third-quarter net income fell 51 percent to $2.9 million as revenue retreated to $24.4 million from $25.8 million.

The shares have added 4.8 percent this year compared with an equal gain in the TA-75 index of stocks. They fell 1.6 percent to 30 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv with investors trading 86 percent of the three-month daily average volume.

“We don’t know what 2013 looks like, the first half looks quite strong and second half not clear,” said Seligsohn.

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