Samsung to invest $975 mil. in ASML
By Kim Yoo-chul
Samsung Electronics said Monday it will invest 779 million euros ($975 million) in ASML, the Netherlands-based chip equipment maker, to speed up the development of next-generation chips.
In a regulatory filing to the Korea Exchange (KRX), the company said it has agreed with ASML to invest $975 million to buy a 3 percent stake in the company and invest in its research and development.
``The strategic investment in ASML will help Samsung accelerate the development of chips with faster transmission speed and bigger storage ability, while cutting manufacturing costs, eventually. The company aims to extend its current global leadership in chips through to next-generation ones,’’ said spokesman Ken Noh.
Specifically, Samsung plans to invest in development tools for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology, which allows chipmakers to cram more transistors on silicon. Existing tools use longer wavelengths to transfer circuit patterns using masks.
EUV, therefore, shortens that range and makes it possible for the creation of much-improved images on wafers, allowing chips to carry more transistors.
``The other reason is that Samsung plans to mass-produce highly-advanced chips using 450 millimeter wafers ahead of our original schedule. That’s why we’ve joined with Intel and Taiwan’s TSMC for the joint development program,’’ Noh said.
ASML made it clear that it aims to sell 25 percent of the company’s entire stake to existing customers as part of a Customer Co-Investment Program, which has the goal of speeding up the advancement of key manufacturing technologies for use in thinner smartphones, tablet PCs and other high-end devices.
Intel and TSMC have already bought a combined 20 percent stake.
The strategic collaboration comes after efforts to transfer advanced 450-mm wafers in place of existing 300-mm wafers were stalled due to higher development costs and the economic slowdown. The larger 450-mm wafers will allow Intel, TSMC and Samsung to produce more chips from each wafer, with less waste.
``These technologies will benefit the entire industry, and will enable smarter, more powerful, more energy-efficient and cheaper electronic devices for consumers,’’ said Emily Leung, a public relations officer representing ASML, in a statement.