Sumitomo Chemical buys ATMI GaAs Epi Business


Sumitomo Chemical Co., Ltd. has purchased ATMI’s GaAs epiwafer business and formed two new companies in Japan and the US to strengthen its position in this market.

ATMI announced in September 2002 that it planned to exit the GaAs epiwafer business, althought it has retained its activities related to GaN and silicon epiwafers. In its annual report, the company stated that “Effective January 31, 2003, certain assets of this business have been sold under an asset purchase agreement. The lease of the related facility in Phoenix, AZ, has been assumed by the buyer.”

The facility includes a number of MOVPE machines used to grow GaAs-based epiwafers, particularly HBTs.

It is now clear that the purchaser is Sumitomo Chemical, a Japanese company that already has a GaAs epiwafer manufacturing capability as well as supplying metal organic chemicals and high-purity gallium to the compound semiconductor industry.

In order to concentrate on its epiwafer business (which it terms MOEPI, or metal organic epitaxial), Sumitomo Chemical has formed two new companies to produce epiwafers for the cellular phone market and other mobile communication applications.

In Japan, Sumika Epi-Solution, Co., Ltd. will manufacture epiwafers at the Sumitomo Chemical’s Chiba works using epitaxial equipment designed in house. The recently upgraded facilities are designed to meet future growth in demand.

In the US, Sumika Electronic Materials, Inc. will produce epiwafers at the former ATMI facility and also market other relevant Sumitomo Chemical products.

Sumitomo says that the establishment of these wholly owned subsidiaries shows its commitment to providing flexible and well-timed responses to the changing needs of its customers in the Japanese and US markets, a commitment the company will underpin by synergistically linking technologies developed in the Japan and US.