NXP spinout Nexperia upgrades UK fab as part of power expansion

NXP spinout Nexperia upgrades UK fab as part of power expansion

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

“This business is capacity constrained and we need to invest in factories and we believe we can grow much faster than the market,” said Frans Scheper, GM of NXP’s standard products and very soon to be the CEO of Nexperia. “We are the standard products powerhouse and everything we did in the past as NXP we will give business continuity – our customers demand that. We started this business in 1953 and our oldest products are from the 1970s and still in our portfolio, and we have about 10,000 product types from 0.1 cents to 75 cents. ”

The UK plant at Hazel Grove in Manchester is one of two fabs at the company, with the Hamburg plant already being upgraded. There are three back end plants in China, Malaysia dn the Philippines. The company is looking at buying another fab to expand its capacity, says Scheper. “We are expanding Hamburg – we have converted to 8in and are going further and we have a dual source with Manchester, but it doesn’t make sense to go to 12in wafers. We certainly won’t be building a new fab.”

Power devices are a key part of the strategy, including a potential move to the gallium nitride technology which has been in development at Hazel Grove since 2013. “We will expand with more high voltage PowerMOS devices and more configurable logic,” he said. “Silicon is absolutely our base but we are looking at GaN on silicon, that’s an area we are definitely interested in, but to industrialise GaN is not a piece of case – to do it in mass production with a cost point is a challenge.”

Neperia could also get into the IGBT market. “IGBT is a market I like but it’s a very existing market – if we do that we would buy a portfolio,” he said.

The $2.75bn spin out from NXP announced in June covers 11,000 staff and is backed by two Chinese investment funds which Scheper says are happy to invest in capacity for expansion in areas such as automotive. 

“Bipolar MOSFETs are very important for electric cars and hybrids and that’s very much a growth area,” he said, “Our most important segment is automotive so all the products we are launching will have automotive quality – we do not plan to go for other quality levels. The quality requirements for mobile are almost the same as automotive so those two segments fit very nicely together. We produce 70bn devices in a year and that’s why quality is so important,” he said.

The Nexperia name comes from a multimedia chip developed by Philips Semiconductor, the forerunner of NXP. The sale of NXP to Qualcomm will not be an issue, he added. “Qualcomm is for my business a very important partners and that relationship can only be strengthened by the NXP transaction,” he said.

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