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4 March, 2020 - 10:42 By Tony Quested

CML Microsystems acquires Plextek RFI

CML Microsystems Plc, an Essex business which designs, manufactures and markets semiconductors primarily for global comms and solid state storage markets, has acquired Cambridge technology cluster company Plextek RFI Ltd (PRFI). No figures are being disclosed for the deal.

PRFI is part of the Plextek Group of companies and specialises in the design and development of RF, Microwave and Millimetre-wave (mm-wave) ICs and modules. 

The team has completed in excess of 100 IC designs, operating at radio frequencies up to 100GHz and are a third-party approved design house for a number of leading semiconductor companies globally. 

Design experience includes front end ICs for mm-wave 5G, broadband Monolithic Microwave ICs (MMICs), receiver, transmitter and power amplifier (PA) ICs for microwave links and GaN PAs for both commercial and defence applications. PRFI is located on the Essex-Cambridge borders in Great Chesterford.  

The acquisition has been funded from a mixture of existing cash resources and shares from treasury.

Plextek RFI was founded from within Plextek by Liam Devlin some 20 years ago and demerged into a separate limited company in 2015. 

Design experience includes front end ICs for mm-wave 5G, broadband Monolithic Microwave ICs (MMICs), receiver, transmitter and power amplifier (PA) ICs for microwave links and GaN PAs for both commercial and defence applications. The designers, IP, order book and customer relationships are all part of the deal.

This represents the first outright sale of one of the Plextek Group companies. These are set up as sister companies and include:-

  • Plextek Services Ltd (the original technical product design house), which solves today's hardest engineering problems in sensing, data collection and communications
  • Blighter Surveillance Systems Ltd – Best-in-class e-scan radars for border security, counter-drone, perimeter security, wide area surveillance & coastline security, including to Heathrow and Gatwick Airports and civil and defence customers in over 35 countries
  • Redtail Telematics – full stack providers of black box telematics to insurers, OEMs and fleets including Admiral, ByMiles, Concirrus, TRACKER Network, LoJack and young driver specialist Ingenie
  • Telensa Ltd, (now co-funded by ETF and others) – a world leading supplier of streetlight metering and management solutions, whose deployments exceed GE and Philips combined.

The marriage between Plextek RFI and CML arose out of a clear strategic alignment. 

Chris Gurry, CML's group managing director said: “PRFI’s dedicated and experienced team enhances our strategy for expansion within communications markets.

“Their design expertise expands upon the group's existing skills and provides a new independent services and consulting income stream for CML.”

Plextek group chairman Dr Colin Smithers added: “We are both delighted and saddened to see Plextek RFI come to maturity and to wave it off into its new beginning at CML where we are sure they will help directly with their strategic goals. The choice of deal partner covered many aspects including a strong cultural fit.”

PRFI will remain based at the Plextek campus in Great Chesterford.

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