May 28, 2002 – Tokyo, Japan, and Geneva, Switzerland – Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd. (DNP), a manufacturer of photomasks, and STMicroelectronics, a supplier of semiconductor devices, have formed a strategic alliance for the development and supply of leading edge and high-end photomasks.
As part of the agreement, a new company called DNP Photomask Europe will be created by DNP, with support and equity shareholding from ST, and will build and operate a photomask production facility next to ST’s site in Agrate, Italy.
The announcement follows a similar one by AMD, Infineon, and DuPont Photomasks. The three companies are establishing an advanced photomask joint venture in Germany.
The new DNP Agrate plant is expected to start operations around the middle of 2003 and when operational will employ about 100 people. The required capital investment by the new company will be approximately US$150 million over three years.
In addition, the strategic alliance includes a long-term supply agreement that makes DNP ST’s primary leading-edge and high-end photomask supplier and a technology agreement under which the two partners will closely cooperate to ensure that DNP develops new photomasks that will be seamlessly integrated into ST’s wafer fabrication processes.
The new plant will be DNP’s first photomask production site outside Japan and it will not only optimize delivery of photomasks to ST production sites in France and Italy, but will also position DNP to better serve Europe’s photomask market.
The close proximity of the new DNP site to ST’s R&D and advanced manufacturing centers of Crolles, France, and Agrate, which are dedicated to complex SoC and flash memory chips, coupled with barrier-free exchange of information on wafer and photomask processes, will ensure rapid turn-around of new photomasks for products built in the most advanced technologies, from 130- and 90nm and beyond.