10 February 2011

SPTS buys Tegal’s DRIE assets

Tegal Corp of Petaluma, CA, USA has announced the sale of its deep reactive ion etch (DRIE) and certain related assets — including the Tegal 200, 110, 3200 and 4200 series products, along with its Compact and Pluto development assets, intellectual property and process know-how — to SPP Process Technology Systems Ltd (SPTS) of Newport, Wales, UK, the plasma etch, deposition and thermal processing equipment subsidiary of Sumitomo Precision Products Co Ltd (SPP).

For its fiscal second-quarter 2011 (to end-September 2010), Tegal reported net income of just $0.1m on revenue of $3.2m, but cash balance fell further from $6.2m to $4.4m, while systems order backlog was just $1m.

Tegal will receive about $2.1m, including $1.6m in cash and the assumption by SPTS of about $0.5m of short-term liabilities. The deal includes the transfer to SPTS of the capital stock and operations of Tegal France SAS, a subsidiary formed after Tegal’s acquisition in September 2008 of the DRIE and plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) assets of Alcatel Micro Machining Systems (AMMS) of Annecy, France.

SPTS will provide continued global support to existing Tegal DRIE customers — which use the tools for etching silicon and dielectric films in the micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS), bio-tech, power IC, optoelectronic, and 3D-IC (interconnect) sectors — and will integrate the technologies into its broad range of product offerings in etch, deposition and thermal technologies.

Previously, last March, Tegal sold its legacy thin-film etch and physical vapor deposition (PVD) product lines to OEM Group Inc of Gilbert, AZ, USA for up to $3m.

“The sale of the DRIE product lines to SPTS represents another major step in Tegal’s transformation,” says the firm’s president & CEO Thomas Mika. “We recently announced our participation in the formation of sequel Power, a company dedicated to the development and operation of large-scale photovoltaic (PV)-based solar utilities in the USA, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa,” he adds. “From this platform, we intend to build additional operations and make further investments as we transition from being a supplier of semiconductor capital equipment to pursuing a leading role in green energy,” Mika continues. “The sale of the DRIE assets to SPTS ensures a smooth transition of our technology, team members, active joint development projects in France, and our commitments to customers globally.”

“This acquisition enhances the DRIE product portfolio SPTS offers to our served markets, broadens our customer base, and expands our ability to deliver world-class DRIE solutions to our global customers,” comments SPTS' president & CEO William Johnson. “We expect to enhance support to Tegal customers through our worldwide support network, and intend to continue the leading-edge development efforts of the former Tegal team in Annecy.”

SPTS was formed by SPP in October 2009 to merge predecessor firm Surface Technology Systems plc (STS) together with assets acquired from Aviza Technology Inc, including Newport-based single-wafer process equipment subsidiary Aviza Technology Ltd (ATL) and Aviza’s Scotts Valley-based Thermal Products business (which provides spare parts, upgrades, and new or remanufactured systems to existing customers of Watkins Johnson, SVG, and Aviza furnaces and APCVD systems).

Also, last December saw the transfer of ownership from parent company SPP to SPTS of Primaxx Inc of Allentown, PA, USA, which provides residue-free MEMS dry etch release equipment, strengthening SPTS’ etch technology portfolio, which includes deep silicon etch, dielectric etch, inductively coupled plasma (ICP) etch, and now hydrogen fluoride (HF) vapor oxide etch.

See related items:

SPTS acquires HF vapor oxide etch firm Primaxx

SPTS opens San Jose facility as it celebrates anniversary

Tegal returns to profit and revenue growth after shedding thin-film etch & PVD

Tegal sells thin-film etch and PVD assets to OEM Group

Tegal completes acquisition of AMMS’ DRIE and PECVD product lines

Tags: SPTS Tegal DRIE

Visit: www.Tegal.com

Visit: www.spp-pts.com

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