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SDK to Take Over SiC Epitaxial Wafers Business from ESICAT

December 5, 2008

—To Meet Growing Demand for Power Device Applications—

Showa Denko K.K. (SDK) has agreed with ESICAT Japan, LLP (ESICAT) to take over ESICAT's business in silicon carbide (SiC) epitaxial wafers for power device applications by the end of this year.

SiC epitaxial wafers are produced by forming a thin layer of single-crystal SiC on the surface of SiC bulk wafers. Compared with conventional silicon-based semiconductors, SiC-based semiconductors give better performance and are expected to be increasingly used in power conversion devices and inverter modules for electric power/automobile/railroad/electric appliance industries. However, development of SiC devices has been delayed because of lack of stable supply of high-quality SiC epitaxial wafers in Japan.

ESICAT was established in September 2005 by six individual partners and SDK for commercial production and sale of SiC epitaxial wafers for power device applications, using proprietary technologies and research results owned by the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), the Central Research Institute of Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI), and SDK. AIST supported ESICAT as one of its “technology transfer ventures,” allowing the use of its intellectual property and facilities and providing information.

ESICAT began selling SiC epitaxial wafers in November 2006. As a result of continuous improvement and new grade development, ESICAT has achieved high uniformity and low deficiency, now providing 2-, 3- and 4-inch wafers with top-level quality in the world.

SDK and ESICAT have agreed on the business transfer with a view to expanding the business and encouraging the growth of the SiC epitaxial wafers market for power device applications. v SDK is promoting R&D for new products that will drive the company's growth in the future, concentrating its managerial resources on six SMU (strategic market unit) projects. Development of SiC epitaxial wafers for power device applications is one of the key subjects in SDK's R&D strategy.

ESICAT will present its products at the exhibition sponsored by the Japan Society of Applied Physics' professional group for silicon carbide and related wide band gap semiconductors to be held on December 8 and 9 at Plaza Industry Ota in Tokyo.

SiC epitaxial wafers of ESICAT
(From left, two, three, and four inches in diameter)

For more information, contact:
SDK IR & PR Office (Phone: 81-3-5470-3235)
ESICAT Japan (e-mail: info@esicat-j.com)