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Axcelis makes modest gain in debut

Axcelis Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ACLS), a semiconductor equipment manufacturer, closed up 1 15/16 to 23 15/16 Tuesday in its initial public offering.

The company priced 15.5 million shares at $22 each for trading Tuesday, at the top of its expected price range of $20 to $22 a share.

Considering the company's solid track record, profitability and the demand for semi-conductor equipment producers, the deal should do well, analysts said.

The company specializes in ion implantation equipment used to make semiconductors and is currently a wholly owned subsidiary of Eaton Corporation. Following this offering, Eaton will own about 83.8 percent of Axcelis' outstanding common stock.

The company turned profitable in 1999, bringing in $12.3 million on sales of $397.3 million, as opposed to a loss of $137.9 million on sales of $265.7 million in 1998.

Its sales are concentrated in a relatively small number of expensive products to a small number of customers, with 53 percent of sales being to customers outside the United States in 1999. The list prices of its products range from $150,000 to over $4.0 million.

Axcelis' competitors include Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc. (Nasdaq: VSEA) and Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT)

Goldman Sachs served as the lead underwriter for the deal.
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