In the News


It's Official: STATS/ChipPAC Merger is Complete

SINGAPORE AND FREMONT, CALIF. — Following a successful governmental review and shareholder vote, STATS and ChipPAC have officially merged and are now operating as "STATS ChipPAC Ltd." ChipPAC is continuing operations as a wholly owned subsidiary of STATS ChipPAC Ltd. The pair merged in a stock-for-stock transaction, creating one of the world's largest independent semiconductor assembly and test solutions companies - with a global manufacturing footprint spanning China, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and the U.S.

Under the terms of the merger agreement, Charles Wofford, chairman of STATS, is the chairman of STATS ChipPAC Ltd. Dennis McKenna, chairman and CEO of ChipPAC, is now the vice chairman. Tan Lay Koon, president and CEO of STATS, is serving as the president and CEO of the combined company.

"With the merger of STATS and ChipPAC now completed, we are moving forward in our vision of creating one of the world's premier independent providers of fully integrated test and assembly solutions," says Koon. "STATS ChipPAC now offers customers end-to-end assembly and testing solutions by combining STATS' testing and ChipPAC's assembly expertise. This is a powerful differentiating factor and a compelling value proposition for our customers, employees and investors. STATS and ChipPAC each had impressive customer lists prior to the merger. Combined, STATS ChipPAC has one of the strongest customer bases in the industry, including nearly every major semiconductor company in the world."

STATS ChipPAC Ltd. expects to have more than $1 billion in pro forma revenues for full year 2004, according to the company, assuming that merger had closed on January 1, 2004. "Financially, we have created one of the industry's strongest players, capable of supporting our customers' ongoing program ramps, while continuing to invest in advanced technologies essential to our own new business development," says Michael H. Potter, CFO of STATS ChipPAC. "Due to the complementary nature of this merger, we believe that the integration will be straightforward and have minimal impact on employees and operations of our existing plants."

The combined company's headquarters are located in Singapore.

Carsem's China Facility Ships Production Volumes

SCOTTS VALLEY, CALIF. — Carsem's Suzhou factory has completed its initial customer qualifications and is now shipping production volumes of micro-leadframe package products. The first production parts were recently shipped to Sematech Corp.

"Sematech has been an excellent partner in helping us reach another major step toward meeting the tremendous growth potential of the China market, as well as the rapidly increasing demand for the MLP package family," explains David Comley, Carsem's group managing director."

Construction of the new factory was completed back in January, and since then more than 100 of the current staff of 180 employees has received extensive training in Carsem's existing Malaysian factories, according to the company. The current installed assembly and test is focused on the production of the entire range of MLPQ (quad) and MLPD (dual) packages, which is a saw-singulated version of QFN- and SON-compliant packages per JEDEC's MO220 and MO229 standards. These packages are available in a wide range of body sizes, as well as a lead-free version.

Chip Sales Are Up, But SIA Cautions of Slower Growth Ahead

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $17.8 billion in June, a sequential boost of 2.8% from the $17.3 billion reported by the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) back in May, and a 40.3% increase from last year's $12.7 billion. During the second quarter of 2004, global sales reached $53.45 billion — an increase of 9.5% from first quarter sales of $48.8 billion.

Microchip sales remain on pace to reach a record of more than $214 billion this year, according to the SIA. While sales in the second half of the year are expected to remain strong, a slowing of the growth rate is expected for the rest of the year. Third quarter sales are expected to be 4 to 6% higher than the second quarter based on the SIA's analysis of inventories, product capacity and end-market demand.

Strong sales of DRAMs, which were up more than 100% year-on-year, are cited by the SIA as the leading driver of second quarter growth. "Sales of personal computers have remained strong, with year-on-year growth of around 13% in the second quarter," says SIA President George Scalise.

Wireless communications was another strong driver of demand for semiconductors in the first half of 2004. Sales of chips for wireless communications, including digital signal processors (DSPs) and application specific standard products for wireless applications, rose by 86.5% from the same period a year ago. Reflecting strong sales of digital cameras and cell phones with picture capability, sales of optoelectronics devices were up 52.4% year-on-year.

The Asia-Pacific market again slowed the strongest year-on-year growth at 61%, followed by the Americas at 30%, and Japan at 26%.

Impressions from Semicon West

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SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Many companies deciding this was the year to unveil new products. Here are a few of the companies who enthusiastically shared their latest news with Advanced Packaging

Nextest introduced their Magnum tester, based on their line of low-cost testers but designed for high-volume applications in the consumer digital appliance market. It uses a scalable architecture, combining many 128-pin systems to provide up to 5,120 pins in a single test head for parallel test of memory, logic or mixed-signal chips. Each 128-pin test system, which required five PCBs in Nextest's earlier products, includes its own PC and has been integrated onto a single board.

FEI has been doing circuit edit using focused ion beam (FIB) systems for many years, but they have added new features to their 5th generation tool, including 65-nm capability and copper deposition. Pattern recognition software has been integrated to provide "machine intelligence" and automate the alignment process, and endpoint techniques for z-direction navigation have been improved to accommodate higher aspect vias.

Unitive is excited about their turnkey wafer-level CSP capabilities at their new die- level processing facility. In addition to bumping and multilayer redistribution, they also perform backgrinding, dicing, package marking, test and inspection.

GE Advanced Materials announced three new silicone-based materials at the show. Their new thermal interface material is designed for low thermal resistance to quickly dissipate heat generated by high-power devices, and it can be used for both first- and second-level applications. New die attach adhesives are aimed at large or thin dies, where the low stress and low modulus of the material can improve reliability, and for lead-free processing, since silicones are stable at high temperatures. Their third product is a transparent encapsulant for high-power LEDs with a high refractive index that resists yellowing, bubbling and delamination over time, enabling long-term reliability. GE has been increasing R&D spending recently, with a new technology center opened in Japan and more new product introductions expected in the near future.