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Japan's SEH to spend $1B on wafer expansion

Posted: 22 Sep 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Shin-Etsu Chemical? Komatsu? wafers? semicon? semiconductor?

Responding to its domestic rival, Japan's Shin-Etsu Chemical (SEH) said Wednesday that it has embarked on a major 300mm silicon wafer expansion program at a total cost of $1 billion.

SEH said it plans to build two new 300mm plants in Japan while expanding existing facilities in the country and the United States. In total, the company said it hopes to expand its 300mm silicon wafer production by 40 percent to 1 million units per month by fall 2007. Another 300mm plant is expected to be built in Nagano Prefecture, according to Nikkei.

The bold expansion program is said to be in response to similar moves by SEH's Japanese rival. Changing the market landscape, Japan's Sumitomo Mitsubishi Silicon Corp. (Sumco) recently took control of rival silicon wafer maker Komatsu Electronic Metals Co. (KEM) from parent company, Komatsu Ltd.

Sumco also plans to raise its production capacity for 200mm silicon wafers, according to a report. Besides a big expansion of 300mm capacity, it will boost its 200mm silicon wafer production from about 1.2 million units a month to more than 1.3 million by the end of 2007, the report said.

The moves are expected to increase Sumco's share of the silicon wafer market by 10 percent to 31 percent, according to reports. That would be "on par" with SEH.

SEH will also plans expand on the 200mm front. "In addition to the planned expansions at the Shin-Etsu Handotai's Shirakawa Plant in Japan and at Shin-Etsu Handotai America's facilities in Vancouver, Wash., to disperse risk, it was decided to produce single crystal ingots at Shin-Etsu Handotai's Takefu Plant [in Fukui Prefecture, Japan]," SEH said in a statement.

SEH has been working on expansion plans that would boost total production capacity of 300mm silicon wafers to 500,000 per month by fall 2006.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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