27 July 2021
SkyWater investing $56m in capacity expansion and 200mm GaN foundry
SkyWater Technology of Bloomington, MN, USA – a US-owned Department of Defense (DoD)-accredited technology foundry that manufactures integrated circuits for markets including aerospace & defense, automotive, biomedical, cloud & computing, consumer, industrial, and the Internet of Things (IoT) – says that its board of directors has approved $56m in strategic capital investments to expand the capacity and capabilities of its Minnesota facility and to accelerate its entry into the 200mm gallium nitride (GaN) market.
“These strategic investments evidence our commitment to our customers to co-create emerging technologies and help ensure we are in position to deliver long-term value to our shareholders,” says president & CEO Thomas Sonderman. “Our investment in GaN technologies – which expand possibilities for next-generation microelectronics – enhances SkyWater’s position for leadership in the aerospace & defense, industrial and automotive markets,” he believes. “As recently noted in the White House 100 Day Supply Chain Review, there is a significant need for a US-based foundry to offer technology services for GaN.”
In connection with its upcoming earnings webcast on 4 August, the firm also says that, for second-quarter 2021 (ended 4 July), it expects to report net sales (excluding tool sales) of $41-41.5m (up 18-20% on Q1/2021 and 33-35% on a year ago), a net loss attributable to shareholders of $8-7m, and adjusted EBITDA of -$1.5-0.5m.
“SkyWater accomplished much in the second quarter, including our initial public offering,” says chief financial officer Steve Manko. “In the midst of this, we were able to deliver significant sales growth,” he adds.
Other accomplishments during Q2/2021, include:
- transitioning multiple customers from Advanced Technology Services (ATS) to Wafer Services as part of the firm’s ‘Technology as a Service’ (TaaS) business model, reinforcing its ability to achieve long-term financial goals;
- launching the first multi-project wafer (MPW) shuttle for its 90nm rad-hard program and announcing a strategic partnership with CAES to support the development of the design ecosystem necessary to enable market access to SkyWater’s RH90 technology platform;
- continuing to win new ATS business in the biomedical market;
- ramping its Minnesota fab to support the IoT and automotive segments of the business;
- continued start-up of the firm’s new Florida advanced packaging fab;
- finalizing customer qualifications to scale power MOSFET technologies in second-half 2021.
Investments in advanced packaging and RH90 are expected to be significant long-term growth drivers for the firm but are a near-term headwind to profitability.
“I am very pleased with our ATS pipeline growth as the industry’s awareness of SkyWater’s TaaS offering continues to build,” says Sonderman. “There is strong demand in the semiconductor market for a US investor-owned pure-play foundry with unique manufacturing capabilities. We believe our strengthening fundamentals and TaaS business model provide a solid foundation for long-term performance in our targeted end-markets.”