Siltronic opens new 300mm plant in Freiberg

  • One of the world's most modern 300 mm plants starts production

  • Approximately 600 jobs created in Freiberg

  • Opening ceremony with government representatives, customers and employees

  • Prepared to re-launch IPO as soon as markets have been reassured

The silicon wafer manufacturer Siltronic AG in Munich has opened a new plant in Freiberg for the production of 300 mm wafers – the technology of the future in the chip industry. In an extremely short construction period of only 18 months, this town in the German state of Saxony witnessed the emergence of one of the most modern production plants in the world, with high-tech jobs for approximately 600 people. "Freiberg is a milestone in Siltronic's new alignment," claims the company's CEO, Dr. Wilhelm Sittenthaler. "It will ensure that we remain a pacemaker in the industry." The plant costs roughly EUR 430 million, making it the largest single investment project in the history of Siltronic's parent company, Wacker-Chemie GmbH. Siltronic is proceeding full steam ahead in its new alignment, including its plan to go public which was put on hold in March. To quote Dr. Peter-Alexander Wacker, spokesman for the executive board of Wacker-Chemie: "We're ready to go as soon as the markets have been reassured."

Dr. Wilhelm Sittenthaler inaugurated the new plant with a host of distinguished guests: Edelgard Bulmahn, Federal Minister of Education and Research; Prof. Dr. Georg Milbradt, Minister-President for the state of Saxony; Dr. Martin Gillo, Saxony's Minister of Business and Labor; and Dr. Peter-Alexander Wacker.

With the launch of its Freiberg plant, Siltronic is predicted to be capable of turning out 125,000 wafers per month of 300 mm diameter product in the current year. This is in addition to roughly 75,000 wafers per month presently being produced by its plant in Burghausen. By 2007, the total output is supposed to reach approximately 350,000 wafers per month of 300 mm. "We'll have to boost our capacity to handle the 350,000 wafer per month target. We're already considering building another plant", said Dr.Sittenthaler. To stay at the cutting edge of development, he adds, the company must continue to invest large amounts in research and development. In 2003, Siltronic invested EUR 63.1 million in R&D, or 7 percent of its sales revenue.

The demand for 300 mm wafers is steadily growing since it forms an indispensable foundation for modern electronics. A 300 mm wafer has twice the surface area of its 200 mm counterpart, allowing chip manufacturers to sizably boost their productivity while cutting their costs by some 30 percent. According to the most recent analysis by the electronics industry analysts Gartner Dataquest, the demand for 300 mm wafers amounted to some 430,000 per month in the final quarter of last year. By the end of 2004, the demand is already expected to grow to roughly 700,000 wafers per month, and Dataquest even predicts almost 1.5 million 300 mm wafers per month in 2007. At present, the total wafer market represents a volume of almost US$ 6 billion, and experts predict that it will continue to soar.

Company Profile

Siltronic is a global leader in the market for ultra-pure silicon wafers and the partner of numerous leading chip manufacturers. Siltronic develops and manufactures wafers up to 300 mm in diameter at production sites in Europe, Asia, Japan and the United States.

Silicon wafers form the heart of modern microelectronics – for computers, mobile telephones, Internet, DV players, flat-panel displays, navigation systems, airbags, computer tomography equipment, aircraft control systems and many more applications.