HSINCHU, Taiwan Episil Technology Inc., a supplier of epitaxial wafers, has acquired a 55 percent stake in a 6-inch wafer plant owned and operated by Acer Semiconductor Manufacturing Inc. (ASMI).
ASMI and Episil will turn the plant, which runs 0.5- to 0.35-micron processes, into an independent foundry named Episil Technology Inc. The company will be run by Episil management, and will focus on the production of "trailing-edge" power ICs, MOSFETs and other CMOS and BiCMOS products, a company spokesman said.
The fab will produce 5,000 wafers a month by year's end, and the partners plan to boost its capacity to 15,000 wafers a month by next year, the spokesman said.
The investment from Episil will not affect ASMI's 8-inch facility in Hsinchu, according to S.J. Lee, vice president of ASMI, the wafer-foundry subsidiary of Acer Inc., Taiwan's largest PC maker. "Our focus has been on the high end [of the foundry business]," Lee said. "We've been looking for a joint-venture partner for our 6-inch fab for a long time."
As part of its push into the foundry arena, ASMI last year licensed advanced logic technology from IBM Microelectronics. More recently,ASMI struck a foundry deal to make DRAMs for Fujitsu Ltd.
ASMI is well positioned with these deals, according to Brian Matas, an analyst with IC Insights Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.). "It makes sense for
ASMI to sell the 6-inch operation and focus on the high end of the business," Matas said.