Nashua, New Hampshire, United States and Bernin, France:
GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQ: GTAT) and Soitec (NYSE Euronext: SOI), today announced a development agreement and a licensing agreement allowing GT to develop, manufacture and commercialize a high-volume, multi-wafer HVPE system to produce high-quality GaN epi layers on substrates used in the LED and other growth industries such as power electronics. The higher growth rates and improved material properties made possible by the HVPE system are expected to significantly reduce process costs while boosting device performance compared with the traditional MOCVD process. Initial pre-payment of the licensing fees as outlined in the agreement is already underway, but further specific terms were not disclosed.
GT will develop, manufacture and commercialize the HVPE system incorporating Soitec Phoenix Labs’ (a subsidiary of Soitec) unique and proprietary HVPE technology including its novel and advanced source delivery system that is expected to lower the costs of precursors delivered to the HVPE reactor. The HVPE system will enable the production of GaN template sapphire substrates at scale. The expected target date for the commercial availability of the HVPE system is the second half of 2014.
“We have been working for more than 6 years on GaN epi processes and have created this breakthrough HVPE technology critical in producing high-quality and low cost GaN layers on sapphire substrates,” said Chantal Arena, VP and general manager of Soitec Phoenix Labs. “The development and license agreements we are announcing today with GT is the ultimate validation of this work and builds on the agreement we announced last year with Silian to integrate a HVPE-based technology on their sapphire. This allows Soitec to structure its LED lighting offer around differentiated technologies and industrial partners that includes materials and equipment. Soitec Phoenix Labs deep know-how in epitaxy technologies and GaN materials will be a key factor to enable GT to bring a revolutionary HVPE system to the market.”
“GT has a successful track record of delivering innovative equipment that has changed industries such as solar PV and LED,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT’s president and CEO. “Our decision to enter into the agreements with Soitec is the result of our extensive search for the right partner with the right technology to complement our equipment business as we diversify into new, high-value technologies that broaden our reach and bring winning solutions to the market. Soitec Phoenix Labs brings a high level of expertise and technical experience in GaN process know-how. When commercially available, we believe the new HVPE system will be a key element to further reduce LED device costs and help propel the industry to greater levels of competitiveness and growth.”
Soitec is an international manufacturing company, a world leader in generating and manufacturing revolutionary semiconductor materials at the frontier of the most exciting energy and electronic challenges. Soitec’s products include substrates for microelectronics (most notably SOI: Silicon-on-Insulator) and concentrator photovoltaic systems (CPV). The company’s core technologies are Smart Cut™, Smart Stacking™ and Concentrix™, as well as expertise in epitaxy. Applications include consumer and mobile electronics, microelectronics-driven IT, telecommunications, automotive electronics, lighting products and large-scale solar power plants. Soitec has manufacturing plants and R&D centers in France, Singapore, Germany, and the United States. For more information, visit: www.soitec.com.
About GT Advanced Technologies Inc.
GT Advanced Technologies Inc. is a diversified technology company with innovative crystal growth equipment and solutions for the global solar, LED and electronics industries. Our products accelerate the adoption of new advanced materials that improve performance and lower the cost of manufacturing. For additional information about GT Advanced Technologies, please visit www.gtat.com.
Certain of the information in this press release relate to the Company’s future expectations, plans and prospects for its business and industry that constitute "forward-looking statements" for the purposes of the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including but not limited to: the Company’s ability to successfully develop and deliver the HVPE system, the ability to achieve the expected performance of the HVPE system to lower the cost of LED substrate manufacturing, the ability of the Company and Soitec Labs to successfully execute the terms of development and licensing agreements and the Company’s ability to successfully market its sapphire material to new market segments outside of its traditional markets, the HVPE system will accelerate adoption of LED in commercial and residential lighting; higher growth rates and improved material properties will be made possible by the HVPE along with significantly reduced process costs and boosting device performance compared with the traditional MOCVD process; HVPE system will enable the production of GaN template sapphire substrates at scale; the expected target date for the commercial availability of the HVPE system is the second half of 2014;and the HVPE system will be a key element to further reduce LED device costs and help propel the industry to greater levels of competitiveness and growth. These forward-looking statements are not a guarantee of performance and are subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the Company's control, which could cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the statements. Other factors that may cause actual events to differ materially from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements include the impact of continued decreased demand and/or excess capacity in the markets for the output of our solar and sapphire equipment, general economic conditions and the tightening credit market having an adverse impact on demand for the Company’s products, the possibility that changes in government incentives may reduce demand for solar products, which would, in turn, reduce demand for our equipment, technological changes could render existing products or technologies obsolete, the Company may be unable to protect its intellectual property rights, competition from other manufacturers may increase, exchange rate fluctuations and conditions in the credit markets and economy may reduce demand for the Company's products and various other risks as outlined in GT Advanced Technologies Inc.'s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the statements under the heading "Risk Factors" in the company's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended September 29, 2012. Statements in this press release should be evaluated in light of these important factors. The statements in this press release represent GT Advanced Technologies Inc.'s expectations and beliefs as of the date of this press release. GT Advanced Technologies Inc. anticipates that subsequent events and developments may cause these expectations and beliefs to change. GT Advanced Technologies Inc. is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any such obligation to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.