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June 14th, 2007
Cambridge may be known for its science park, but it is that city's academic arch-rival that spawned the first university spin-off. But the history of Oxford Instruments, a developer of scientific gadgetry founded 42 years ago, has been traumatic, characterised by commercial acumen that has sorely lagged its technological expertise. Yesterday's full-year results, the first since a restructuring in which it closed its magnet technology division, its original business, suggest that such problems are in the past.
Profits were up 89 per cent on sales ahead 21 per cent to £162 million, despite a £4 million hit from currency movements and a surging copper price. OI is focused on nanotechnology and bioscience and has been helped by hazardous waste legislation that has boosted demand for its X-Met device, a handheld spectrometer used for measuring soil contamination.
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