Oct. 9, 2002 – Freiberg, Germany – Starting in August 2004, Wacker Siltronic AG will produce the new generation of 300mm wafers at its Freiberg plant in the German state of Saxony. Freiberg’s initial capacity will be 60,000 wafers per month. This could ultimately increase to 150,000 per month. WACKER’s investment, totaling EUR 430 million, will create more than 600 new jobs.
This decision by the WACKER Group has implications for regional and industrial policy that will resonate well beyond Freiberg and Saxony, emphasized President & CEO Dr. Peter-Alexander Wacker: “When fully expanded, the new large-wafer production facility in Freiberg will almost triple our existing capacities in Burghausen, Germany, and Hikari, Japan. This will make Freiberg the third pillar of our worldwide manufacturing network for the 300-millimeter technology of the future. We plan to send a certain portion of the wafer substrates from Freiberg to Taiwan for the epitaxial process, in close proximity to customers there.” According to Wacker, the Asian market accounts for around 50% of worldwide semiconductor demand.
The decision to choose Freiberg as the location for the new 300-mm wafer production facility was taken after an intensive study, which also looked at alternatives in North America and Asia. The main factors in favor of Freiberg, according to the Group’s President & CEO, were the existing infrastructure, the availability of highly qualified specialists and the outstanding cooperation with the state of Saxony, including investment incentives.
Germany’s federal government and the state of Saxony are providing regional development funding for the project. When fully completed, the project will have received public financial support amounting to 20 to 30 percent of the total investment sum. Payment of the subsidy is firmly tied to the progress of expansion plans, and the associated employment growth. In this context, Dr. Wacker also drew attention to the significance of support by the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for developing 300-mm technology. The incentives involved here amount to EUR 25.8 million.
The investment decision at this time sends out a strong and dynamic signal, which emphasizes the company’s steady strategic course. According to Wacker: “We are investing in growth and a secure future for the long term, irrespective of economic cycles.” Despite the adverse global economic climate, WACKER’s President & CEO is convinced that the semiconductor market will remain “the key industry for all major sectors in national and international markets.”
WACKER has had a strong presence in Saxony since 1995 with WACKER SILTRONIC, and since 1998 with WACKER SILICONES. At its two Saxony sites – Freiberg and Nunchritz – the WACKER Group currently employs 1,400 persons, making it the state’s largest chemical employer. WACKER’s investment in Saxony to date totals about EUR 450 million.