Our journey to market leadership
VAT was founded in 1965 in Flawil, Switzerland, and originally manufactured vacuum valves for scientific research. Some 20 years later, VAT entered the thin-film market for industrial coatings and optics. In 1988, 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 beyond Europe with manufacturing and service operations in the US and Asia and made 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 facility in Penang, Malaysia. By building its presence in the important Asia market, VAT was able to improve collaboration with many of its largest customers in the region. At the same time, the move to Asia helped make the organization faster and more flexible by diversifying the production footprint and optimizing its global value chain. The Penang plant currently occupies 24,000 square meters, including assembly, engineering and testing capabilities.
In April 2016, VAT Group was taken public through an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the SIX Swiss Exchange. The company paid its first dividend as a public company of CHF 4.00 per share to shareholders in May 2017 and has paid the same dividend every year since. The Board of Directors has proposed a 12.5% increase in the dividend for 2020, amounting to CHF 4.50 per share. Since the IPO, VAT has delivered a total shareholder return of more than 400%.
Today, VAT has more than one million valves in operation around the world and continues to build its Number One 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.