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TSMC ups budget for 40nm, MEMS

Posted: 15 Aug 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:capex increase? 40nm node? MEMS? CMOS process?

The board of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd has approved a $795 million capital spending plan that covers the foundry's push into 45-/40nm CMOS processes and MEMS.

The spending is part of TSMC's previously-announced capital expenditure budget for 2008. For year 2008, total capital expenditures for the foundry giant is expected to be around $1.8 billion, compared with $2.6 billion spent in 2007.

On the leading-edge front, TSMC said it has approved the appropriations of $687.60 million to expand its 45- and 40nm manufacturing capacity within its 300mm fabs. TSMC recently rolled out these processes.

The company has also approved capital appropriations of $107.40 million in 200mm fab equipment. It will upgrade a portion of its 0.18? logic process capacity to 0.11? CMOS image sensor technology, 0.11? logic, 0.13? high voltage, and 0.18? RF.

In addition, the appropriation will also be used to upgrade a portion of its 0.35? logic process capacity to MEMS processes.

TSMC has been involved in MEMS foundry production for some time, but the company is expanding its efforts in the arenaand for good reason: MEMS is growing at an annual rate of 13 percent, according to the company.

Within its fabs, the company is devising several MEMS products on a foundry basis for customers, such as inkjet devices, sensors, RF MEMS and displays. It is also developing several processes in the arena, such as bulk MEMS, surface MEMS and a CMOS-MEMS integration technology.

Rival Taiwan foundry provider United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) is also jumping on the bandwagon. Recently, Taiwan's Asia Pacific Microsystems Inc. (APM) reached an alliance agreement with UMC for 200mm MEMS wafer fab capacity. UMC is an investor in APM.

As part of this agreement, UMC and APM will collaborate to support current and future customers for the 200mm MEMS process. UMC will provide the fab manufacturing, logistic management and required capacity expansion. APM will bring its MEMS process technologies.

The joint APM-UMC MEMS team has been working together during the last 18 months for this development. A 200mm MEMS prototype line has been set up in one of UMC's fabs and will soon begin process qualification on one product.

Separately, TSMC's board approved a plan to repurchase up to NT$16.5 billion (approximately $542 million), or no more than 283 million shares, of the company's common shares from the open market.

"The sole purpose of this buyback is to remove partially the dilution from employee profit-sharing," said TSMC Chief Financial Officer Lora Ho, in a statement. "This repurchase program is separate from the multi-phase plan with Philips, and Philips will not use this program to dispose of its remaining stake in TSMC."

TSMC also approved the merger of its subsidiary, Hsin Ruey Investment Co. Ltd.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

EE Times Asia contributed to this report.

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