FREMONT, Calif.--Asyst Technologies Inc. today announced a definitive agreement in its previously announced plans to set up a joint venture for wafer fab automated material handling systems (AMHS) with Shinko Electric Co. Ltd. of Japan.
Under the agreement, Asyst will purchase a 51% stake in the venture at a value of 8.16 billion yen ($66 million). Asyst said it is currently is exploring multiple options for funding the transaction, including bank debt in Japan.
The purchase price was set at a rate equal to 1.34 times Shinko's AMHS sales in the 2002 fiscal year, which ended March 31. The transaction is expected to be completed on Oct. 1.
The joint-venture company--called Asyst Shinko Inc.--is being formed to enable Asyst to complete against its archrival in fab automation, Brooks-PRI Automation Inc. Earlier this month, Brooks-PRI was formed with the merger of Brooks Automation Inc. and PRI Automation Inc. in a tax-free swap of stock valued at $536 million (see May 15 story).
When the Asyst-Shinko venture was announced last month company officials said the new company would be aimed at a 300-mm AMHS market that is expected to have $1 billion in annual revenues during the next industry upturn (see April 16 story).
Asyst claims that Shinko has won more than half of the current worldwide installations for 300-mm automated material handling systems. These systems include the two largest installations to date, according to Fremont-based Asyst, citing a large production fab being equipped by an unidentified U.S. company, and the first production 300-mm fab for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC).