Mitsubishi Electric buying back power fab from Renesas

Feb. 2, 2008 – Mitsubishi Electric has agreed to reacquire Renesas Technology’s Kumamoto Prefecture power chip plant at the start of the next fiscal year (April), in order to boost its sales of chips for use in electronics, automotive, factory automation equipment, and power plants. The purchase price is ¥11B (US $103.4M), according to the Nikkei daily.

The transfer makes sense for both sides, the companies said in a statement. Mitsubishi Electric, which originally transferred its system LSI and memory business to Renesas, its JV with Hitachi, in April 2003, wants to increase wafer production capabilities to meet demand for power devices used in inverter controller equipment. It is increasing 150mm capabilities at its existing Power Device Works factory in Kumamoto, and wants to upgrade to 200mm capacity.

Renesas, meanwhile, has an extra 200mm facility (on the same grounds as Mitsubishi’s site) that “has been operating under its capacity” since Renesas quit the flash memory business in 2005, and “maximizing its value has been a challenge,” the companies stated. Selling it to Mitsubishi lets Renesas improve manufacturing efficiency in its core segments of microcontrollers, system solutions, and standard products.

The Nikkei daily reports that Mitsubishi will invest ¥10B ($94M) over the next several years to double Renesas’ 200mm plant to capacity to 60,000 wafers/month. The company is expected to post ¥98B ($921.2M) in sales of power chips in the current fiscal year (including chips used in its own products), and wants to increase this by >50% to ¥150B ($1.41B) by fiscal 2015, the paper notes.


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