SK Siltron, a global maker of semiconductor wafers, announced today it has completed the acquisition of DuPont’s Silicon Carbide Wafer (SiC Wafer) unit. The acquisition was decided through a board meeting in September and closed on February 29.
The $450 million acquisition is considered a bold global technology investment to meet the demand from consumers and governments for sustainable energy and environmental solutions. SK Siltron will continue to invest in related fields even after the acquisition, which is expected to increase SiC wafers’ production and create additional jobs in the U.S. The primary site for the business is in Auburn, Mich., about 120 miles north of Detroit.
Demand for power semiconductors is rapidly increasing as automakers are scrambling to enter the electric vehicle market and telecommunication companies are expanding ultra-fast 5G networks. SiC wafers have high hardness, heat resistance and the ability to withstand high voltages. These characteristics make the wafers widely seen as a material to produce power semiconductors for electric vehicles and 5G networks where energy efficiency is important.
Through this acquisition, SK Siltron, based in Gumi, South Korea, is expected to maximize its R&D and production capabilities and synergy between its current major businesses, while securing new growth engines by entering rapidly expanding areas.
SK Siltron is South Korea’s only producer of semiconductor silicon wafers and one of the top five global wafer manufacturers with annual sales of 1.542 trillion won, accounting for about 17 percent of global silicon wafer sales (based on 300mm). To sell silicon wafers, SK Siltron has overseas subsidiaries and offices in five locations – the United States, Japan, China, Europe and Taiwan. The U.S. subsidiary, established in 2001, sells silicon wafers to eight customers, including Intel and Micron.
SK Siltron is an affiliate company of Seoul-based SK Group, South Korea’s third-largest conglomerate. SK Group has made North America a global hub, with its investments in the U.S. in batteries for electric vehicles, biopharmaceuticals, materials, energy, chemicals and ICT, reaching $5 billion in investments in the U.S. over the past three years.
Last year, SK Holdings fostered the biopharmaceutical sector by establishing SK Pharmteco, a contract manufacturer of active ingredients in pharmaceuticals, in Sacramento, Calif. In November, SK Life Science, a subsidiary of SK Biopharmaceuticals with offices in Paramus, N.J., received FDA approval of XCOPRI®(cenobamate tablets) for the treatment of partial-onset seizures in adults. XCOPRI is expected to be available in the U.S. in the second quarter of this year.
In addition, SK Holdings has been investing in U.S. shale energy G&P (Gathering & Processing) fields, including Brazos and Blue Racer, starting with Eureka in 2017. SK Global Chemical acquired ethylene acrylic acid (EAA) and polyvinylide (PVDC) businesses from Dow Chemical in 2017 and added high-value chemical businesses. SK Telecom is developing a 5G-based broadcasting solution with Sinclair Broadcast Group and has joint esports projects with Comcast and Microsoft.