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Canon acquires Anelva, NEC Machinery

Posted: 26 Aug 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:flat-panel equipment? canon? semiconductor?

Expanding its efforts in the semiconductor- and flat-panel equipment markets, Japans Canon Inc. on Thursday (August 25) said that it has acquired one fab-tool company from NEC Corp. and took a majority interest in another.

Under the terms, Canon (Tokyo) acquired Anelva Corp. for an undisclosed price and bought a 54 percent stake in NEC Machinery Corp. for ?5.1 billion yen ($46 million). Both Anelva and NEC Machinery had been owned and operated by Japanese chip giant NEC (Tokyo).

With the acquisitions, Canon will expand into new markets for front- and back-end applications, including chemical-vapor deposition (CVD), die bonders, etch, sputtering and other segments. Canon is already the worlds third largest lithography-tool vendor, behind ASML Holding NV and Nikon Corp.

NEC Machinery makes die bonders, sorters, inspection equipment and other products. Anelva manufactures CVD, PVD, sputtering, and related equipment for the fabrication of disk drives, semiconductors and LCDs.

Earlier this month, Japan-based Anelva acquired Nordiko Technical Services Ltd. This move enabled Anelva to offer ion beam processing capabilities. NTSLs role is to provide to Anelva key hardware elements and to further develop its ion beam process technology.

Canon acquired a stake in NEC Machinery to capitalize on its factory automation equipment, while Anelva is seen as an enabler for flat-panel displays, according to the company.

Canon and Toshiba Corp. formed a joint venture company called SED Inc. last October. Canon plans to invest about $200 million to establish a surface-conduction electron-emitter display (SED) R&D center to increase the competitiveness of SED panels among other flat panels, such as plasma and LCD displays.

The acquisitions could boost Canons semiconductor-equipment unit. The operation missed its internal operating profit projections for the second quarter of 2005, but the organization exceeded its sales and lithography-tool shipment forecasts in the period. The supplier of lithography tools also sees a slowdown in the second half of 2005 amid a chip-equipment downturn (see July 27 story).

For years, Japan's Canon has made various claims that it will one day become the world's largest lithography-tool vendor, surpassing ASML and Nikon. But Canon continues to lag behind its rivals and remain the third largest vendor in the arena amid lackluster results and product delays.

Canon is developing its initial immersion lithography tool, but the dual-stage machine is not expected to hit the market until 2007. ASML and Nikon are ahead of Canon in immersion, according to analysts.

Mark LaPedus

EE Times

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