Chris Meadows, communications director at IQE plc, told eeNews Europe that the Newport foundry will be primarily dedicated to epi-wafer production and that there is room to install 100 tools which would represent a doubling of the company's present tool count.
The building in Newport was originally erected to contain an LG Electronics wafer fab that was announced in July 1996 but never went ahead. The building has been an empty shell for twenty years but is in good condition, Meadows said.
The foundry is being leased to IQE for expansion and is part of the compound semiconductor cluster being nurtured in south Wales. The overall manufacturing site is being branded as CSconnected, said Meadows, and it is large enough to have space for other participants. "There may be some limited device and chip processing but for demonstration and prototyping purposes," he added. There is room there to build incubator units as well, Meadows said. "That's part of the vision," he said.
Earlier this month IQE issued 67,941,581 new ordinary shares representing 9.9 percent of IQE's existing outstanding issued share capital and raised gross proceeds of approximately £95 million. This money is intended for the purchase of 40 to 60 tools for epi wafer production to go into the building in Newport.
"We have a phased implementation plan over the next five years," Meadows said. He added that the first machines under that plan are on order and should be in the building by the end of the year and to be fully commissioned and running commercially in the third quarter of 2018.
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