Rising SOI tide lifts Soitec into profit

June 20, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
Soitec SA (Bernin, France), developer of the "smart cut" method of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer production, has reported its first profit for many years and is preparing to invest in facilities in France and possibly Singapore to meet rising demand for SOI wafers

For its 2017 financial year (FY17) ended March 31, 2017, Soitec reported a net profit of €8.2 million (about $9.1 million) on sales of €245.7 million (about $275 million) up 5 percent on the previous year. The net profit contrasts with a net loss in FY16 of €72.2 million (about $80 million).

During FY17 Soitec strengthened its balance sheet by raising €150 million with strategic investors CEA Investissement, NSIG and Bpifrance: each ending up with 14.5 percent of Soitec's share capital. Of the sum raised €110 million was used to repay bridge loans and partially buy back Oceane bonds. The remaining €40 million has been set aside for investment in 300mm wafer production capacity at Bernin.


Paul Boudre, CEO of Soitec.

"The adoption of the FDSOI technology by the semiconductor industry is gaining momentum," said Paul Boudre, CEO and chairman, of Soitec, in a statement. "A few FDSOI technology-based products have now been released for automotive and Internet of things applications. Our decision to go ahead with investing in capacity dedicated to FDSOI wafers at our French industrial site in Bernin is fostered by further commitments made by strategic clients to build FDSOI capacity and extend the FDSOI roadmap," he added.

Boudre told eeNews Europe that the financial results represented a turning point for Soitec's turn around following its exit from silicon for solar conversion business. The decision to exit solar energy conversion was made at the beginning of 2015 and accompanied by the stepping down from the CEO post by Andre Jacques Auberton Herve, one of Soitec's co-founders.

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