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25 October 2007


Skyworks converting GaAs HBT fab to 6-inches and partnering with Taiwanese foundries

Skyworks Solutions Inc of Woburn, MA, USA says that it is expanding its manufacturing capacity, given the heightened demand for its products from tier-one handset original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and a diverse set of analog customers.

Skyworks has already started the conversion of its internal gallium arsenide heterojunction bipolar transistor (HBT) fabrication plant in Newbury Park, CA, from 4-inch to 6-inch wafers.

Also, to complement its internal manufacturing capabilities at its GaAs HBT power amplifier fab in Newbury Park and its GaAs PHEMT switch fab in Woburn, MA, Skyworks is also expanding partnerships with several foundries in Taiwan. The firm has exported ‘copy exact’ processes of mature GaAs technology to these foundries, in addition to leveraging their capabilities for specialty processes.

Skyworks says that this hybrid expansion model requires no additional ‘bricks and mortar’, will cost substantially less than building a new stand-alone facility, and allows the firm to meet the surge in demand with a high degree of flexibility. The steps are designed to expand Skyworks' gross margins while maximizing its return on invested capital.

Skyworks says that the demand for its products is being fueled by new customers and the growing need for 3G multimode front-end architectures in handsets. Third generation (3G) cellular phones, which contain increasingly complex transmit modules and provide an incremental market opportunity measured in the billions of dollars annually, are forecasted to represent the majority of the more than 1.2 billion mobile phones that will ship in 2009 as consumers move to more feature-rich, multi-band devices.

“With continued strong mobile phone growth forecasted for the foreseeable future, increasing GaAs content per handset, and traction within our Linear Products portfolio, we are implementing a hybrid capacity expansion model to maximize our internal capabilities while at the same time leveraging external partnerships,” says Bruce

Freyman, VP of worldwide operations. “While we will continue to invest internally, our balanced approach is less capital intensive and more flexible, allowing us to meet customer demand without compromising gross margin or other key operating metrics,” he adds. “These initiatives position Skyworks to support well over $1bn in annual compound semiconductor revenue.”

See related items:

RFMD, Skyworks and Triquint grew GaAs device market share to 55% in 2006

Skyworks grows profit, driven by linear product launches and 3G ramps

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