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Billionaire Surfaces on Stock Surge of Scientific Device Maker

  • Frank Laukien, son of founder, owns almost a quarter of Bruker
  • Massachusetts company posted profit for 36 straight quarters

A rally that sent Bruker Corp. to a 17-year high last week has made Chief Executive Officer Frank Laukien a billionaire.

Shares of the Billerica, Massachusetts-based maker of scientific instruments have surged 42 percent this year through last week, giving its leader a net worth of $1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Laukien, 57, declined to comment on the valuation.

Laukien, whose father co-founded the business in 1960, spent more than $100 million buying additional company shares since 2004 and now has a 24 percent stake in the business. The acquisitions leave him as Bruker’s largest shareholder, in contrast with his siblings and stepmother, who have pared their inherited stakes.

Bruker has posted a profit for 36 straight quarters and last month reported that first-quarter revenue increased 2.5 percent to $384.9 million, beating analysts’ estimates. The firm announced May 12 that it would buy back as much as $225 million of its stock over the next two years.

X-rays, Microscopes

German physics professor Guenther Laukien founded Bruker in 1960, focusing initially on the production of laboratory magnets and power supplies. Soon afterward, the company started building nuclear magnetic resonance systems that analyzed materials at the molecular level. Now a market leader for molecular research equipment, it also produces X-ray machines and microscopes.

Frank Laukien, who’s also Bruker’s chairman, is at least the third Massachusetts billionaire to emerge from a stock surge this year. The fortunes of Wayfair Inc. founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine reached $1.4 billion this month after shares of the Boston-based online furniture retailer hit a record.

Bruker shares slid 1.4 percent to $29.56 at 10:38 a.m. Monday in New York.

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