ACT puts £900,000 into Belfast company


ACT Venture Capital has invested £900,000 in a Belfast company that supplies silicone wafers to manufacturers of integrated circuits.

The company, BCO Technologies, currently employs 30 people, but it is to undergo a major expansion programme which will eventually see employment rise to more than 400.

ACT will receive a 20 per cent shareholding in BCO. The company designs and manufactures silicone bonded wafers know as the BCO Substrate".

Almost £4.5 million has been spent developing the product, with finance coming from the Industrial Development Board (IDB) and the International Fund for Ireland.

ACT's investment is part of a £2.6 million equity financing package, in conjunction with 3i and Enterprise Equity.

The product was developed in Belfast by its three founders - Dr Scott Blackstone, Mr James Corkery and Mr Michael O'Connor - over the past four years in conjunction with Queen's University, Belfast and the National Microelectronic Research Centre at University College, Cork.

According to ACT, the product offers significant cost savings (around 40 per cent) to integrated circuit manufacturers. It is used in circuits which are, in turn, used in products such as telephones, modems, faxes and disk drives.

The wafers are currently being manufactured in a small plant installed at Queen's University. However, a larger facility is being installed at a factory on the Glen Road in Belfast and production is expected to increase by the autumn.