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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

ASML’s fake IP theft news; who bought Versum?; free 5G.

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Fab tools
ASML said it has disagreed with any implication that it has been a victim of “Chinese espionage,” as stated in an article in a Dutch newspaper. The article discusses the results of a public court case in the United States that ASML won last year. In the case, XTAL was found by a jury to have misappropriated ASML’s confidential and proprietary information as well as trade secrets in 2015.

“The suggestion that we were somehow victim of a national conspiracy is wrong. The facts of the matter are that we were robbed by a handful of our own employees based in Silicon Valley, who had broken the law to enrich themselves. All of this occurred several years ago. We found this out by ourselves and immediately sought legal action in public court in 2016. This was reported on in several publications after our victory in November 2018,” said ASML President and Chief Executive Officer Peter Wennink.

“We resent any suggestion that this event should have any implication for ASML conducting business in China. Some of the individuals happened to be Chinese nationals, but individuals from other nations were also involved. We do protect our proprietary knowledge carefully and are very sensitive to information security. We believe we can serve all our customers, including our Chinese customers, and help them build their businesses. We are encouraged by the recent constructive talks and agreements between the European Union and China that China will step up its efforts to respect and protect corporate intellectual property of non-Chinese companies, including effective enforcement actions. We will be even more encouraged when we see these materialize in Chinese law and jurisprudence,” Wennink said.

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Here’s a bad sign: silicon wafer maker Siltronic has lowered its financial forecast for the year. “The executive board expects that the wafer area sold in 2019 will be significantly lower than in 2018. This is due to a strongly decreasing demand in smaller wafers with a diameter of up to 150mm and a noticeable decrease in 200mm loading. Loading in 300mm has also been coming down,” according to the firm.

Eleven companies have been recognized by Texas Instruments as winners of its annual Supplier Excellence Award (SEA).

Materials
Has Merck KGaA outbid Entegris for Versum Materials? It appears so.

Versum has received a revised proposal from Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, to acquire Versum for $53 per share, or about $5.8 billion. Versum’s board determined that this proposal is a “superior proposal” over a previously announced merger agreement with Entegris.
Under the terms of Merck KGaA’s revised proposal, Merck KGaA would acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Versum for $53 per share in cash, an increase from the previously announced $48 per share proposal made by Merck KGaA on Feb. 27.

Versum’s board intends to terminate the Entegris merger agreement to enter into a definitive merger agreement with respect to Merck’s KGaA proposal. Entegris has the right, during the four business day period ending on April 11, to propose revisions.

In a statement, Entegris said: “Entegris has considered its options and does not currently intend to propose to revise the terms of the Entegris-Versum merger of equals.”

Packaging and test
Kyocera and Vicor will collaborate on next-generation power-on-package technologies to maximize performance and minimize time-to-market for emerging processor technologies.

Advantest has been recognized for the second time as one of “Germany’s Best Employers” by the internationally-renowned consulting firm, Great Place to Work.

Chipmakers
TSMC has announced delivery of the complete version of its 5nm design infrastructure. This full release enables 5nm systems-on-chip (SoC) designs in next-generation advanced mobile and high-performance computing (HPC) applications, targeting high-growth 5G and artificial intelligence markets. EDA and IP vendors collaborated with TSMC to develop and validate the complete design infrastructure, including technology files, process design kits (PDKs), tools, flows and IP, through multiple silicon test vehicles.

Market research
IC Insights released its top-10 rankings for suppliers in the optoelectronics, sensors/actuators, and discretes market. Sony is the leader in terms of sales, according to IC Insights.

5G is here. IHS Markit has released a complimentary white paper that describes the technology. The paper is called “The Promise and Potential of 5G.”

Worldwide sales of semiconductor manufacturing equipment surged 14% from $56.62 billion in 2017 to an all-time high of $64.5 billion in 2018, according to SEMI.



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