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SEMICON West - Soitec is becoming a key enabler

Jul. 22, 2018 – A variety of growing and emerging segments of the semiconductor industry rely on Silicon-On-Insulator (SOI) wafers. Soitec is the primary source for SOI wafers particularly on 300mm. On Tuesday at SEMICON I got to sit down with Bernard Aspar, Soitec's Executive Vice President, Communication & Power BU and Christophe Maleville, Soitec's Executive Vice President, Digital Electronics BU and discuss what is going on at Soitec.

During SEMICON GLOBALFOUNDRIES announced they have reached $2 billion dollars of design wins on their 22FDX FDSOI platform that relies on wafers from Soitec and Soitec was clearly pleased by this development.

I started the interview by asking about Soitec's financial health. A few years ago they were struggling. Soitec built significant 300mm capacity to support IBM's partially depleted SOI (PDSOI) business. At one time all three major game console manufacturers relied on IBM PDSOI process for their main processor chips. Unfortunately, the value proposition of PDSOI wasn't very good and all three console manufacturers moved away from PDSOI taking away the major driver of 300mm SOI. Last year at SEMICON West Soitec said they had returned to profitability and that has continued into this year. Over the last three years Soitec has refocused on their core business and they are now growing nicely (4% and 31% the last two years), in fact there are reports in the industry of SOI shortages.

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