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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

Foundry unit for sale?; ATE M&A; 200mm boom.

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Chipmakers and OEMs
South Korean chipmaker MagnaChip reported its results. It has also undertaken a strategic evaluation of the company’s foundry business and Fab 4, the larger of the company’s two 200mm fabs. “The strategic evaluation is expected to include a range of possible options, including, but not limited to, joint ventures, strategic partnerships as well as M&A possibilities. The company has retained financial and legal advisors to assist in the evaluation,” according to MagnaChip.

LCD supplier Japan Display will receive up to $723 million in a bailout from China and Taiwanese investors, according to the Kyodo news agency.

Packaging and test
Advantest has closed its previously announced acquisition of the Semiconductor System Level Test business from Astronics. The new terms include an upfront purchase price of $100 million, plus an earn-out payment of up to $35 million based on certain performance milestones. Based in Irvine, Calif., Astronics is now a subsidiary of Advantest’s U.S. subsidiary, Advantest America, and is now operating under a newly created entity, Advantest Test Solutions.

The move expands Advantest’s efforts in ATE. Astronics offers system-level test systems, burn-in testers and other products. Advantest sells ATE for logic, memory and other applications. “We will be able to offer stronger solutions to our diversified customer base and continue to add significant customer value in an evolving semiconductor value chain by further enriching and expanding our suite of test and measurement solutions,” said Yoshiaki Yoshida, Advantest’s president and chief executive.

There has been other merger and acquisition activity in the ATE business. Last October, Cohu completed the acquisition of Xcerra, a supplier of ATE and other products.

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Chroma ATE, a Taiwanese test and measurement equipment provider, has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire 20.5% of the shares of Camtek. Chroma will acquire a total of 6,117,440 Camtek shares from Priortech, the controlling shareholder of Camtek, for $58.1 million, and a further 1,700,000 new shares to be issued by Camtek, for $16.2 million. The total cash consideration to be received by Camtek and Priortech amounts to $74.3 million.

Unisem has purchased Veeco’s WaferStorm single wafer solvent wet process tool and its AP300 lithography system to support the growth of its outsourced assembly and test (OSAT) business.

Fab tools
Applied Materials reported results for its first quarter ended Jan. 27. Applied generated revenue of $3.75 billion. In addition, Applied Materials is participating as a member of the new IBM Research AI Hardware Center. IBM, a tenant at the SUNY Polytechnic Institute campus in Albany, N.Y., recently set plans to invest over $2 billion to grow its footprint at the campus and throughout New York State. This includes the establishment of an “AI Hardware Center” at SUNY Poly for AI-focused computer chip research, development, prototyping, testing and simulation.

AIM Infrarot-Module GmbH (AIM) has purchased Veeco’s GEN20 automated molecular beam epitaxy (MBE) system. AIM, a manufacturer of infrared detectors and thermal sights, cited the performance and reliability of Veeco’s MBE system as the basis for its decision to acquire a third GEN20.

Market research
Robust demand for various chips will drive production of 700,000 200mm wafers from 2019 to 2022, a 14% increase, according to SEMI. The increase brings the total 200mm wafer fab capacity to 6.5 million wafers per month, according to the firm.

Who is the leader in wafer capacity? “Taiwan led all regions/countries in wafer capacity with 21.8% share, a slight increase from 21.3% in 2017,” according to IC Insights. “Taiwan’s capacity share was only slightly ahead of South Korea, which accounted for 21.3% of global wafer capacity in 2018.”



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