ST takes over SiC wafer maker Norstel

ST takes over SiC wafer maker Norstel

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

STMicroelectronics is buying the remainder of silicon carbide SiC wafer maker Norstel to bring production in house.

“We have successfully completed our key milestone evaluation of Silicon Carbide wafer manufacturer Norstel,” said Jean-Marc Chrry, CEO of STMIcroelectronics. “Therefore, we have decided to exercise our option to purchase the remaining 45 percent stake. We expect to close this acquisition during Q4. It is part of our plan to install internal substrate production capacity to support the programs of our Automotive and Industrial customers from 2021.”

ST bought 55 percent of Norstel in Sweden in February from Chinese investment house An Xin Capital, and the total cash deal is worth $137.5m. Norstel, a spin off from Linköping University developing 150mm SiC wafer technology, raised $41m before being bought by An Xin in 2017. ST also has a strategic SiC wafer supply deal with Cree.  

Automotive power is a key driver for the company. “In car electrification we provide technology and products for all flavours of vehicles– from the mild hybrid to full EVs, with a broad range of products. We saw continued traction and additional design wins with our Silicon Carbide MOSFETs and diodes in applications like on-board charging and DC-DC conversion. We will supply high-efficiency SiC devices to Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi for advanced on-board chargers. Overall, we are on track for over $200 million of revenues with SiC devices this year.”

The existing silicon power devices are also still growing strongly, both in automotive and industrial applications, he says, and this is leading to sales of other devices such as microcontrollers.

“We also continue to progress on IGBT MOSFETs and Power Modules, with a number of design wins in applications like traction inverters in electric vehicles,” he said. “Our offer for car electrification goes beyond power, with a complete range of products such as protection devices, gate drivers, battery management solutions and microcontrollers.” 

During the third quarter, ST won a design with a major EV manufacturer for its 32bit automotive microcontrollers to be used in EV charging adapters.

In industrial designs, demand is strong for SiC MOSFET, IGBT and  low voltage Power MOS, while high voltage Power MOS and non-Power Discrete devices are still suffering from soft end-market demand, amplified by an inventory correction due to short lead times of the industry, he says.

The company saw a 17 percent growth over the previous quarter to $2.5bn, and up 1.2 percent on the previous year. Cherry expects growth of 5 percent next quarter. This would give 2019 revenues of $9.35bn, slightly short of the key target of $12bn: ST’S BOZOTTI TO CHERY: GET TO $12 BILLION QUICKLY

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