Episil Technology Inc., a Hsinchu, Taiwan-based supplier of epitaxial wafers, has acquired a 55% stake in a 6-in.-wafer plant owned and operated by
Acer Semiconductor Manufacturing Inc. (ASMI). ASMI and Episil will turn the 6-in.-wafer, 0.5- to 0.35-micron-process plant into a new and independent foundry called Episil Technology Inc. (ETI).
ETI, to be run by Episil management, will focus on making "trailing-edge" power ICs, MOSFETs, and other CMOS- and BiCMOS-based products, according to a company spokesman.
The fab will produce 5,000 wafers a month by year's end, with plans to boost capacity to 15,000 wafers a month by next year, the spokesman added.
The move will not affect ASMI's 8-in.-wafer plant 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-in. fab for a long time."
As part of its aggressive push into the foundry arena, ASMI last year licensed advanced logic technology from IBM Microelectronics. And recently, ASMI struck a major deal to make DRAMs on a foundry business for Japan's Fujitsu Ltd.
As a result, ASMI is well positioned, according to Brian Matas, an analyst with IC Insights Inc., Scottsdale, Ariz. "It makes sense for ASMI to sell the 6-in. operation and focus on the high end of the business," Matas said.