The cornerstone for the Communicant Semiconductor Technologies fab
development is to be laid this week (August 14) in Frankfurt (Oder),
Germany. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder is to attend. The company plans to be
at the leading edge of the development of mixed-signal foundries with
technology for truly modular carbon-doped silicon germanium and BiCMOS
processing (Bulletins 372, February 12, 2001; 411, December 3, 2001; 423,
March 11, 2002; 427, April 8, 2002; 437, June 17, 2002).
Novellus Systems has agreed to buy all outstanding shares of SpeedFam-IPEC
in a stock-for-stock merger. Novellus will also assume all of
SpeedFam-IPEC's 6.25% Convertible Subordinated Notes due 2004, totaling
$115mn. The transaction is valued at $220mn. Speedfam-IPEC produces chemical
mechanical planarisation (CMP) systems. The acquired company will become a
new product group for Novellus. SpeedFam-IPEC has worked with Novellus on
copper interconnect processing as part of the Damascus Alliance. The
transaction has been approved by the board of directors of both companies
and is expected to formally close in Q4 2002 following SpeedFam-IPEC
shareholder approval. Novellus shareholder approval is not required.
Novellus Systems has won an appeal court decision upholding its position in
a lawsuit filed by Semitool on August 10, 1998, alleging patent
infringement. Semitool claimed that Novellus' SABRE and SABRE xT copper
deposition systems infringed its US patent Nos.5,222,310 and 5,337,708. The
appeal court upheld a 2000 ruling that Novellus Systems had not violated the
Semitool patents (Bulletin 329, April 3, 2000).
Metron Technology and Cabot Microelectronics have modified their
distribution agreement. Cabot Microelectronics will assume direct
distribution of its products in Europe, Singapore and Malaysia effective
from June 1, 2003. Metron will continue to distribute Cabot's products in
SEMI released its wafer area shipment data for Q2. The total came to
0.821km2 (1.273bn square inches), a 29% improvement compared with 0.637km2
in 2001. The polished sector increased from 2001's 0.472km2 to 0.610km2.
Expitaxial increased to 0.172km2 from 0.134km2. Area shares remained roughly
constant at 74:21:5 (polished:epi:non-polished).
BOC reports results for its semiconductor BOC Edwards business in the nine
months to June 30, 2002, as GBP502.4mn turnover and GBP17.1mn operating
profit. The result for the same period of 2001 was GBP689.4mn and GBP73.8mn,
respectively. The Q3 results were GBP185.4mn turnover (GBP185.7mn in 2001)
and GBP9.1mn operating profit (GBP13.6mn). The company reports
Fujitsu Microelectronics has exercised its option to accelerate the sale of
its Gresham wafer fab to Microchip Technology to August 2002. One of the
remaining closing conditions is the qualification of the facility under
Oregon's Strategic Investment Program. Microchip has made a definitive
agreement to buy the Gresham semiconductor manufacturing facility from
Fujitsu Microelectronics for $183.5mn (Bulletin 442, July 22, 2002).
Communicant Semiconductor Technologies has named the company's chairman and
co-founder, Dr Abbas Ourmazd, as interim CEO. This follows the resignation
of Dr Klaus Wiemer (Bulletin 437, June 17, 2002). Ourmazd previously served
as scientific director of the Innovations for High Per-formance
microelectronics (IHP) organisation that supplies many of the leading edge
process technologies for wireless and broadband communication to be used by
Communicant. The company says it will be announcing additional senior
appointments in the coming months.
Ibis Technology has been granted a Korean patent for its MagScan magnetic
scanning technology used in Ibis' oxygen implanters for SIMOX silicon on
insulator (SOI) wafers. MagScan provides a method for scanning a high
current beam quickly (150Hz) and with a very precisely controlled waveform.
This technology enables improved uniformity in the final wafers.
Singapore's Institute of Microelectronics (IME) has ordered an atomic layer
deposition (ALD) system from US company Genus. The company is looking to
reach a customer base of 12-14 by year-end. The IME is Genus' tenth
customer. The tool will be used for advanced capacitor and gate dielectric
applications and is scheduled to ship before year-end.
Austrian cleaning toolmaker SEZ reports H1 net sales at EUR65.8mn, compared
with EUR97.8mn in 2001. The net loss for the half year is EUR1.4mn. In 2001,
a net profit of EUR15.4mn was made. Order intake increased to EUR74.1mn
compared with EUR68.9mn, but backlog is down at EUR40.1mn from EUR61.9mn for
the same time last year. The company management is assuming that there will
Intense Photonics has closed a GBP10.5mn series B funding round. Cazenove
Private Equity led the round with a syndicate containing first round
investors, 3i and ACT Venture Capital, together with two further European
venture capital funds, FNI Venture Capital and TTP Ventures. Intense
Photonics will use the funds to accelerate the development of its product
range and strengthen its marketing effort.
PDF Solutions is working with Israeli foundry Tower Semiconductor to achieve
best-in-class yield and performance on a 0.18micron CMOS process. The work
is to be carried out at Tower's new 200mm Fab 2 facility. PDF's technology
aims at enabling quick analysis of the complex interactions between
manufacturing processes and designs.
August Technology has terminated its May 2002 purchase agreement with
Semiconductor Technologies and Instruments (STI) (Texas) and ASTI Holdings
Limited (Singapore) to acquire the Texas-based STI wafer inspection
business. August Technology says it terminated the agreement
SEMI reports the North American equipment manufacturer book to bill ratio
for July at 1.16 (preliminary). The three-month average booking figure is
$1.15bn and the billing figure is $995mn. The bookings are 50% up on July
2001 and the billings 17% down. June's book-to-bill was 1.26 (final).
IQE reports Q2 sales at GBP6.357mn, compared with GBP13.158mn last year. The
net loss was GBP52.3mn. Last year a net profit of GBP0.621mn was made in the
same period. The company wrote off GBP33.866mn in
Infineon Technologies and LSI Logic have made a joint development agreement
(JDA) to share existing intellectual property (IP), to develop new IP and to
collaborate on the design of integrated circuits for hard disk drive (HDD)
applications. Infineon and LSI Logic expect that initial products resulting
from the JDA will be available beginning in H2 2003.
Singapore Technologies (ST) has undertaken to subscribe for its 60.5%
pro-rata entitlement of a Chartered Semiconductor rights offering. There has
recently been speculation that the state-run ST was seeking to disengage
from its semiconductor investments such as the Chartered foundry operation
and the packaging and test company STATS. ST is Chartered's largest