Materion (formerly Brush Engineered Materials) provides advanced engineered materials and services worldwide. It sells products to a number of markets, including consumer electronics, aerospace and defense, industrial components, telecommunications infrastructure, automotive electronics, and medical and appliance. It manufactures a variety of precious and specialty metal products, including frame lid assemblies and clad and plated metal systems. Other products include precision optics and thin film coatings; inorganic chemicals and powders; specialty coatings; beryllium (which it mines in Utah), beryllium composites, and beryllium alloys. The company consolidated all divisions under the name Materion in 2011.
Materion's key strategy for growth has been to pursue niche acquisitions, primarily for its advanced material business. Despite the economic slump that began in 2008 and affected its revenues and net income for the next two years, Materion looked to acquisitions to improve its bottomline and beef up its already large advanced materials division. It has also entered some new markets and regions through acquisitions.
The strategy has rapidly grown Materion in almost all of its markets. In 2011 the company posted sales of $1.5 billion, a 17% increase over that of 2010. Its performance resulted from higher metal pass-through prices and strong demand from many of its markets, including industrial components, commercial aerospace, energy, automotive electronics, and medical. Materion saw a slowdown in demand from its consumer electronics and defense markets in the last quarter of 2011. The company's net income was dipped slightly at $40 million, compared to $46 million the prior year.
Each of Materion's divisions serves specialized markets, but its advanced materials technologies group is the company's primary breadwinner, accounting for more than two-thirds of annual sales. The advanced materials group manufactures precious, nonprecious, and specialty metal products, such as clad and precious metal pre-forms, high temperature brazing materials, ultra-fine wire, optics, performance coatings, and electronic packages.
Other groups have a different mission. For example, the beryllium and composites group is focused on the defense industry. It has a $90 million contract to construct a manufacturing facility for the US Department of Defense to provide the rare and toxic metal beryllium for weapons and aerospace applications. The company extracts beryllium from its bertrandite mine in Utah, where it also produces beryllium hydroxide at its milling facilities. In addition to using the beryllium hydroxide as a raw material for its strip and bulk products, it sells the material to NGK Insulators
In keeping with Materion's overall strategy for growth, subsidiary Materion Advanced Materials Technologies and Services acquired EIS Optics in 2011 to bolster its precision thin film optical filters and coatings operations. The acquisition also widens Materion's footprint in Asia and gives it access to the fast-growing Chinese market, where EIS Optics operates a manufacturing site in Shanghai. The buy complements a number of recent acquisitions Materion has made to bolster its precision thin film optical filters and coatings operations, including optical filter maker Barr Associates for $55 million in 2009.
In 2012 the company boosted its beryllium and composites segment by acquiring UK-based Aerospace Metal Composites (AMC). AMC makes a product line that fits in with Materion's beryllium metal-based product lines (including AlBeMet) and is derived from powder metals. AMC also produces reinforced metal matrix composites made mainly from aluminum, and it sells to the aerospace and defense, automotive, and precision machinery markets.