STMicroelectronics Acquires Silicon Carbide Wafer Specialist Norstel AB

one month ago by Alessandro Mascellino

STMicroelectronics (ST) has acquired Swedish silicon carbide (SiC) wafer manufacturer Norstel AB, the company announced on December 2nd, 2019.

STMicroelectronics completed the transaction following an initial agreement revealed in February 2019, when the firm had acquired 55% of Norstel’s share capital, with an option to acquire the remaining 45% subject to certain conditions, which have now been fulfilled.

The total value of the acquisition was $137.5 million and was funded with available cash.

 

Norstel and STMicroelectronics logos.

 

Silicon Carbide Expertise

Norstel specialises in silicon carbide, a semiconductor containing silicon and carbon. While extremely rare in nature (is only found in the mineral moissanite), synthetic SiC powder has been mass-produced since 1893 for use as an abrasive.

The Swedish firm started working with SiC processing technology and SiC materials in 1993, and in 2000 it completed the first commercial deliveries of wafers from HTCVD grown SiC crystals. 

Today, Norstel’s focus is on the research, development and production of SiC substrates for high-performance semiconductors used in power and HF electronics.

 

A Valuable Acquisition

Commenting on the news, Jean-Marc Chery, President and CEO of STMicroelectronics said that "at a time of constrained global capacity for silicon carbide, the full acquisition of Norstel will strengthen our internal SiC ecosystem: it will boost our flexibility, allow us to control better the improvement of yield and quality of the wafers, and support our long-term silicon carbide roadmap and business." 

Chery added that, with Norstel’s technology, STMicroelectronics will also be able to keep up with the increasing demand of wafers components.

"This acquisition comes in addition to wafer supply agreements signed with third parties,” he explained, “with the overall goal to secure the required level of wafers to manufacture MOSFET and diodes for the automotive and industrial customer programs that will ramp up over the next few years.”

Following the transaction, Norstel will be fully integrated into ST's global R&D and manufacturing operations. 

According to a press release, the company will continue expanding its production capabilities of 150mm bare and epitaxial silicon carbide wafers and R&D on 200mm, together with wider bandgap materials.

What do you think about this acquisition and how is it going to affect STMicroelectronics? Let us know in the comment section down below.

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