ST Bulks up on SiC Wafer Capacity, Acquires Norstel

n its bid to strengthen its internal silicon carbide (SiC) ecosystem, from materials expertise and process engineering to SiC-based MOSFET and diodes design and manufacturing, STMicroelectronics has completed the full acquisition of Swedish SiC wafer manufacturer Norstel AB with a total cash consideration of U$137.5 million, representing the remaining 45 percent of the company.

“At a time of constrained global capacity for silicon carbide, the full acquisition of Norstel will strengthen our internal SiC ecosystem: it will boost our flexibility, allow us to control better the improvement of yield and quality of the wafers, and support our long-term silicon carbide roadmap and business,” said Jean-Marc Chery, President and Chief Executive Officer of STMicroelectronics.

Norstel will be fully integrated into ST’s global R&D and manufacturing operations. It will continue growing its activities covering both the production of 150mm bare and epitaxial SiC wafers and R&D on 200mm production as well as on wide bandgap materials.

“This acquisition comes in addition to wafer supply agreements signed with third parties, with the overall goal to secure the required level of wafers to manufacture MOSFET and diodes for the automotive and industrial customer programs that will ramp up over the next years,” says Chery.

Supply Agreement with Cree
Recently, Cree, Inc. and ST have decided to expand and extend an existing multi-year, long-term silicon carbide (SiC) wafer supply agreement to more than US$500 million. This new agreement represents double the value of the original agreement for the supply of Cree’s advanced 150mm SiC bare and epitaxial wafers to ST over the next several years.

“Silicon carbide delivers performance enhancements that are critical to electric vehicles and a host of next-generation industrial solutions for solar, energy storage, and UPS systems,” said Gregg Lowe, Chief Executive Officer of Cree.

The adoption of SiC-based power solutions is rapidly growing across the automotive market as the industry seeks to accelerate its move from internal combustion engines to electric vehicles, enabling greater system efficiencies that result in electric cars with longer range and faster charging, while reducing cost, lowering weight and conserving space. In the industrial market, SiC modules enable smaller, lighter and more cost-effective inverters, converting energy more efficiently to unlock new clean energy applications.