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MagnaChip ups capex, tips 130nm process

Posted: 14 Oct 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:magnachip? korea? 130nm? cmos? cmos image sensors?

Amid a plan to boost its capital spending, South Korea's MagnaChip Semiconductor Ltd is developing a new 130nm process technology for a range of applications.

MagnaChip (Cheongju) is expected to ship products based on the 130nm process starting in 2006. "The first products [based on the process] will be CMOS image sensors," said Youm Huh, president and chief executive of the company.

The company claims to be one of the leaders in CMOS image sensors, which are used in camera-equipped mobile handsets, PCs, fingerprint sensors and surveillance cameras. During the nine months ended September 30, 2004, the company's three largest CMOS image sensor customers by net sales were Samsung, LG Electronics and Hansung.

MagnaChip is also preparing to expand its CMOS image sensor line. It is sampling a 2.1-megapixel CMOS image sensor, with a 3.2-megapixel product due out in December, said Robert Krakauer, executive vice president of strategic operations and chief financial officer of MagnaChip

MagnaChip is the former non-memory chip unit of South Korea's Hynix. The non-memory chip unit of Hynix was recently sold to a newly-created South Korean company formed by Citigroup Venture Capital Equity Partners LP and CVC Asia Pacific Ltd.

MagnaChip generated some $1 billion in worldwide sales last year. Some 50 percent of its business was derived from the foundry sector (see Oct. 10 story). It also designs and sells its own standard products, such as application processors, CMOS image sensors and LCD driver ICs.

At present, the company operates five fabs, including three 8-inch plants and separate six- and five-inch facilities. Its most advanced fab, dubbed F-5, is an 8-inch plant capable of 0.35?m to 0.15?m design rules. That fab is located in Cheongju.

MagnaChip's other 8-inch fabs are located in Cheongju and Gumi. The new 130-nm process will be developed in the F-5 plant in Cheongju, said Tae Young Hwang, executive vice president of manufacturing operations at MagnaChip.

Overall, the company will boost its capital spending from $80 million in 2005 to $150 million in 2006, Hwang said. It mainly uses lithography equipment from ASML Holding NV and Canon Inc.

There are no 300mm fab plans on the company's drawing board. "We don't have any immediate plans for a 300mm fab," he said.

- Mark LaPedus

EE Times

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