From modest beginnings to global leadership
VAT was founded in 1965 in Flawil, Switzerland, and was originally focused on vacuum valves for scientific research. VAT entered the thin-film market for industrial coatings and optics in the 1980s and established its COMVAT AG subsidiary to manufacture vacuum-sealing equipment. VAT entered the semiconductor sector in 1988, laying the groundwork for its current position as the world’s leading supplier of high-vacuum valves.
As the semiconductor industry continued to grow, VAT broadened its product range and began to serve adjacent markets with similar high-vacuum production processes, such as flat-panel displays and solar panels. VAT expanded its business beyond Europe by establishing manufacturing and service operations in the US and Asia and undertook some small acquisitions, including Sysmec in Romania in 2008 and the vacuum valves product line from Inficon AG in 2012.
That year, VAT also launched its largest organic growth initiative with a new manufacturing center in Penang, Malaysia. The aim was to improve collaboration with large customers in Asia and to make the organization faster and more flexible by diversifying the production footprint and optimizing its global value chain. The Penang plant has been substantially expanded from its original size of 6,000 square meters and with the completion of a major build-out in 2018 currently occupies 24,000 square meters, including assembly, engineering and testing capabilities.
VAT Group was taken public through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the SIX Swiss Exchange in April 2016. VAT paid its first dividend as a public company of CHF 4.00 per share to shareholders in May 2017. The company paid the same dividend again in 2018 and has proposed a dividend of CHF 4.00 for 2019.
Today, VAT has more than one million valves in operation around the world and continues to build its leading market share by focusing on deep customer relationships, a passion for technology innovation and a commitment to sustainable value creation for all of its stakeholders.