EpiGaN Becomes Soitec Belgium, Branching Further into the Power Systems SpaceJuly 21, 2020 by Shannon Cuthrell
Just over a year after acquiring Belgium-based Gallium Nitride materials company EpiGaN, Soitec is now repositioning the brand’s identity as it seeks to scale in the Power Systems and RF markets.
Soitec announced on July 1 that EpiGaN will now become Soitec Belgium N.V. While merging the GaN business unit into the broader Soitec brand, the French semiconductor materials supplier plans to continue its push into high-demand markets like power systems and 5G.
Images courtesy of Soitec and EpiGaN.
The consolidation move aims to boost Soitec’s exposure in the GaN market for 5G base stations. Long-term, the company is eyeing further growth in the smartphone and power automotive industries, as it expands its line of silicon and non-silicon engineered substrates.
Soitec acquired EpiGaN in May 2019 for €30 million (or $34 million USD), seeking to leverage the company’s epi-wafer materials to boost its position in the 5G, power, and sensor markets.
In announcing the acquisition, Soitec CEO Paul Boudre stated that as GaN technology continues to dominate the radio frequency (RF) and power markets, GaN epi-wafers “represent a natural strategic fit” with Soitec’s engineered substrates portfolio.
“The acquisition of EpiGaN further extends and complements Soitec’s portfolio beyond silicon to create new value-added process solutions for both RF 5G and power systems,” Boudre said.
Now a year after the acquisition, EpiGaN’s rebrand into Soitec Belgium will allow the RF division to further benefit from the market exposure that comes with being a part of the company’s brand ecosystem.
In the announcement, EpiGaN Business Unit General Manager Marianne Germain stated, “EpiGaN’s advanced expertise in GaN has been enhanced by Soitec’s notoriety, giving the BU [business unit] and its customers access to the Group’s manufacturing scale and expertise.”
The expansion of LTE and the rise of 5G are significant contributors to the demand for radiofrequency technology in smartphones. According to MarketsandMarkets, the RF semiconductor industry is forecasted to grow from $17.4 billion this year to $26.2 billion in 2025, at a compound annual growth rate of 8.5%. In the forecast period, GaN-based RF devices are expected to surpass the CAGR of other applications due to what some groups believe is the ability to operate with superior efficiency at higher frequencies, outperforming the efficiency of silicon devices.