April 16, 2002 – Fremont, CA, and Tokyo, Japan – Asyst Technologies Inc. and Shinko Electric Co. Ltd. have signed a basic agreement that is expected to lead to the formation of a new joint venture company that will develop, manufacture, and market Shinko’s automated materials handling systems (AMHS).
In addition to participation in the joint venture, Asyst will continue the commercialization program for its next-generation FasTrack AMHS, which uses continuous flow technology.
The company currently is working with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) in a joint development project to fully commercialize FasTrack. Asyst anticipates that its FasTrack team will collaborate extensively with the new joint venture.
Morris Chang, chairman and CEO of TSMC, said, “As TSMC increases its 300mm production, automated material handling and tool loading are becoming critical for fab productivity. This joint venture between Asyst and Shinko is potentially a great benefit to TSMC’s 300mm manufacturing.”
Shinko Electric plans to move all of its AMHS products and operations into the joint venture, including its full inter-bay and intra-bay overhead transport systems, stockers, automated- and rail-guided vehicles, reticle stockers, and transport systems, material control system (software), and approximately 240 employees.
Shinko will retain 49% ownership of the joint venture, to be called Asyst Shinko Inc., with Asyst purchasing 51%. The transaction, which is subject to completion of a definitive agreement, due diligence, Shinko shareholder approval, and regulatory approval, is expected to close in the fourth calendar quarter.