Sumitomo Chemical acquires GaAs and GaN Capacity

February 04, 2015 by Jeff Shepard

Sumitomo Chemical Co Ltd. has agreed today with Hitachi Metals, Ltd. to acquire their compound semiconductor materials business. The acquisition is due to take place, effective April 1, 2015. The business that Sumitomo Chemical will acquire from Hitachi Metals includes those of compound semiconductor materials, such as gallium nitride (GaN) substrates, GaN epi wafers, and gallium arsenide (GaAs) epi wafers. With this acquisition, Sumitomo Chemical is positioning the compound semiconductor materials business for next-generation power devices as a promising area in its long-term business portfolio for the IT-related Chemicals Sector. The business acquisition will further reinforce the Company's relevant operations, paving the way for becoming a leading company in the field.

“Hitachi Metals is a forerunner in the field of GaN substrates and epi wafers and boasts its state-of-the-art technology. The acquisition will allow Sumitomo Chemical to expand its business of GaN substrates and epiwafers for use in electronic and optical components, for which the market is taking off on a full scale, while at the same time devoting its efforts to early commercialization of the products for use in power devices. In addition, the fusion of Hitachi Metals’ ample resources and superior mass-production technology and Sumitomo Chemical’s technological and other expertise will accelerate the Company's work for commercialization of its next-generation GaN epi wafers that are currently under development,” according to a written statement issued regarding the acquisition.

In the area of GaAs epi wafers, which Sumitomo Chemical has already commercialized, the Company will further strengthen its business foundation by making the best use of a reservoir of each other’s resources. Compared with an elemental semiconductor such as silicon, compound semiconductors have excellent properties, such as higher electron mobility, higher-speed/ higher-frequency operation, and higher light-receiving or light-emitting efficiency.

Compound semiconductors are widely used in various fields of industry, including electronic components such as materials for smartphones and optical components like LEDs. Next-generation power devices, for which compound semiconductors can be used, are capable of improving power efficiency and will contribute to realizing energy-saving society. As such, demand for compound semiconductors for such use is expected to grow substantially in the future.