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Semiconductor Today Magazine


10 July 2006


Soitec expands to meet SOI demand

Soitec, a manufacturer of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers and other engineered substrates, has announced expansion plans to meet growing demand for its products. The company is to expand its existing production capacity in France, and add a new production plant in Singapore.

Andre-Jacques Auberton-Herve, president and CEO of Soitec, said: "Our strategic investment plan is built around the concept of first developing the engineered substrate technologies the semiconductor industry needs, and then investing in the production capacity to meet customer demand for these technologies. Our historical research alliance with the CEA Leti Research Laboratory, together with our location in the Grenoble area -- and its unwavering support for public and private partnerships -- remains a cornerstone of our ability to maintain our leadership.” He added: “To meet anticipated rising demand from chipmakers worldwide, including Asian foundries, we are further bolstering our global production capacity with a new production plant in Singapore. As a result, these technologies are available in high volume for our customers, when and where they are needed."

Current investment in Soitec’s Bernin plants in France stands at just over €350m. The company expects this to rise to in excess of €500m when the plants are fully equipped. Two additional 300-mm lines will be installed in Bernin II during the first half of 2006. To raise production capacity further, Soitec has also purchased 1,300 square meters of equipped cleanroom space from MEMSCAP, which is located adjacent to Soitec's Bernin facility. This boosts Soitec's potential maximum production capacity to an estimated (mid-term range) of one million 300-mm wafers annually, compared to current potential of 720,000 wafers per year.

Singapore will be the location for Soitec’s new 300-mm SOI fab, Fab 3. Slated to break ground in August, it will be built on 2.7 hectares and will have more than 4,000 square meters of cleanroom space, with additional land for future expansion, if needed. The total investment is expected to reach 350 million Euros once the fab is running at full capacity. With production starting mid-2008, final capacity is expected to be one million wafers per year, which will ramp over a two-year period. By 2009, the facility is expected to employ approximately 500 people.

Auberton-Herve said: "The establishment of our new state-of-the-art facility in Singapore's Pasir Ris Wafer Fab Park represents a key milestone for Soitec -- one that we believe will bolster our competitiveness on a global scale with the opportunity to have a dollar-based zone plant. Singapore offers a privileged environment, which will contribute to the rapid and complete success of our development strategy and will allow us to create strong relations with our main customers and partners in the region. As a result, our customers throughout the world will have even faster, easier access to the SOI technologies and process expertise they will require -- and which they have come to expect from Soitec. This will be especially critical as SOI moves further into mass production, and as leading chipmakers continue to turn to SOI technology for their next-generation devices to address the mass electronics market."

Visit: http://www.soitec.com