GlobalWafers looks to Europe for wafer factory

GlobalWafers looks to Europe for wafer factory

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Following the collapse of its deal to buy European wafer maker Siltronic, GlobalWafers is looking to build a plant in the region.

The company has allocated $3.6bn to build leading edge factories making wafers in Europe, the US and Asia. These projects will look to take advantage of subsidies from European and US governments which have identified the supply of bare wafers as a strategic requirements. Funding for the US CHIPS Act is progressing through the US Congress, with a $135bn package agreed on Friday. Europe’s CHIPS Act is set to be announced tomorrow.

The Siltronic deal, worth $5.3bn, was sunk by the German regulators after a year as the strategic importance of wafer supply from its European plants became more apparent to politicians. GlobalWafers will now use the funds originally intended for the acquisition for capital and operating expenses from 2022 to 2024, including substantial new greenfield plant investments.

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GlobalWafers is now looking at a number of brown- and greenfield capacity expansion plans for 300mm wafer and Epitaxial wafer (EPI), 200mm and 300mm Silicon on Insulator wafers (SOI), 200mm Float-Zone wafers (FZ), Silicon carbide (SiC) wafers (including SiC Epi) and Gallium Nitride on Silicon wafers (GaN on Si).

The new production lines are expected to ramp up in the second half of 2023 and to be expanded on a quarterly basis.

The company has a single crystal ingot factory in Merano in Italy, as well as a wafer plant in Novara, Italy.  It also acquired Topsil’s semiconductor business group in Denmark in 2016, providing 200mm floating zone silicon wafers for power and automotive applications from plants in Copenhagen and in Poland.

“While the failed completion of our offer for Siltronic is disappointing we have pursued a dual-track strategy from the very beginning of the tender offer. I am very excited that we can consider now a broad range of options to advance technology development and enhance our capacities,” said Doris Hsu, Chairperson and CEO of GlobalWafers.

The new plants will specialize in next-generation products for advanced processes targeting large-size wafers and compound semiconductors, and will these will play a larger role in the product spectrum of GlobalWafers, says the company.

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