STMicroelectronics Acquiring Majority Stake in Norstel

February 07, 2019 by Scott McMahan

STMicroelectronics announced it has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Swedish silicon carbide (SiC) wafer manufacturer Norstel AB. After closing, ST will control the entire supply chain for a portion of its SiC devices. Norstel develops and manufactures advanced silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers. According to ST, the Norstel aquisition comes at a time of constrained global SiC capacity, and it will position ST for a significant growth opportunity.

ST will acquire 55% of Norstel's share capital, with an option to procure the remaining 45% subject to certain conditions, which, if exercised, would result in total consideration of $137.5 million, funded with available cash. ST intends to target the increased SiC capacity towards automotive and industrial applications.

"ST is the only semiconductor company with automotive-grade silicon carbide in mass production today. We want to build on our strong momentum in SiC, both in volume and breadth of applications for industrial and automotive, targeting continued leadership in a market estimated at more than $3 billion in 2025," said Jean-Marc Chery, President and CEO of STMicroelectronics. "The acquisition of a majority stake in Norstel is another step forward strengthening our silicon carbide ecosystem: it will boost our flexibility, improve yield and quality, and support our long-term silicon carbide roadmap and business."

Norstel, headquartered in Norrkoping, Sweden, was founded in 2005 as a spinoff of Linköping University. Norstel offers Silicon carbide (SiC) n-type and p-type epitaxy growth on either Norstel substrate or on customer-supplied substrates. The company's n-type 4H single crystal SiC substrates are available in 100 mm diameter, and the company has successfully produced low-defect 150mm n-type SiC wafer in the lab. The company's epitaxial services range from specialized R&D structures in very limited quantities to regular deliveries in large volumes.

Today the company operates modern equipment in a state-of-the art facility dedicated to SiC epi capacity running both multi-wafer and single wafer epitaxial growth systems. The company also has in-house characterization and wafer cleaning done in a clean room. So, the grown layers can be fully characterized in-house.