Behind the Scenes: How Advantest Celebrated a Decade of NYSE Trading

On a cool, crisp day, six Advantest Corporation (ATE) executives stood proudly in front of the New York Stock Exchange, celebrating the 10th Anniversary of listing on the Big Board. Behind them, draping the Corinthian columns of the NYSE façade, was a huge red and white corporate banner that Advantest had created for its original listing ceremony but was never used for its intended purpose until now.

Flashback to the early morning of September 11, 2001 --- there were two Advantest road show teams, one in Boston and another in San Diego, with the plan of converging in New York for an Opening Bell listing ceremony on Friday, September 14th. The destruction witnessed later that day shook us all. Then Chairman Hiroshi Oura, resolved to move forward as a show of support for the American people. That Advantest did: trading began on September 17th, the day America’s equities markets reopened following the attack. Advantest also contributed $100,000 to the New York City Policy and Fire Safety Fund. The listing and donation were without fanfare. The Advantest teams returned to Tokyo headquarters, and the banner followed them soon thereafter.

One year later, then Chairman & CEO Oura and then President Toshio Maruyama returned to ring the Opening Bell. Addressing the somber yet resolute crowd in the Board Room that morning., Richard Grasso, then Chairman  & CEO of the NYSE, spoke these words:  “Mr. Oura and the entire Advantest team demonstrative great resolve and commitment . . . with its listing, Advantest joins with the Exchange and so many others in helping America and the world get back to business. For that and for our partnership with the family of Advantest employees and shareholders, the Exchange is forever grateful.”

Five years later, Advantest executives Toshio Maruyama, then President & CEO, Hiroshi Oura, then Director and Senior Executive Advisor, and Hitoshi Owada, then Director and Managing Executive Officer, returned once again, this time to ring the Closing Bell.

It is only now that Advantest believed the time was right to display its banner so close to Ground Zero. Standing in the Board Room, NYSE host Scott Cutler, Executive Vice President and Co-Head of U.S. Listings and Cash Execution, thanked the company for their valuable partnership and marveled at the story of the Advantest banner. Haruo Matsuno, President & CEO, Advanteset, said: “Mr. Toshio Maruyama, Chairman, Mr. Yuichi Kurita, Director and Senior Executive Officer, join (him) in expressing our pride in being associated with the world’s premier exchange.” He then presented NYSE with a cast silver sculpture of a yacht, symbolizing the Advantest sprit – “as in sailing, where focus, agility and speed determine triumph or failure, we will continue to move ahead with purpose to explore new paths on the horizon.” (see Closing Bell video)

Advantest has earned great success over the last ten years. It is today a world-class technology company, and the leading producer of automatic test equipment for the semiconductor industry and a premier manufacturer of measuring instruments used in the design and production of electronic instruments and systems. Reflecting unwavering commitment to product quality and customer service, this year Advantest was awarded with VSLIresearch’s coveted 10 BEST rating for the 23rd consecutive year, based on direct customer feedback representing 95% of the world’s chip producers.

Over 80% of Advantest’s revenues originate outside Japan, up from the less than 70% at the time of listing. This summer Advantest continued on its path to globalization when it completed a strategic acquisition of a major international competitor, Verigy.

At the celebration dinner following the Closing Bell, Chairman Maruyama spoke of the resilience of the American people, thanked Advantest’s partners and advisors for their support, and led a toast to the future.