owerchip Technology Corp (力晶科技) aims to relaunch an initial public offering (IPO) in 2020 in Taiwan to fund construction of a NT$278 billion (US$9.31 billion) 12-inch fab.
It said it submitted an application to the Hsinchu Science Park Administration to rent land for the fab in Tongluo Industrial Park (銅鑼科學園區) in Miaoli County.
The plant would be the biggest investment by the Hsinchu-based chipmaker in about a decade after it emerged six years ago from deep financial woes caused by a slump in the DRAM industry.
It has spent the past few years clearing debts of NT$120 billion.
Powerchip turned a net profit of NT$8.08 billion last year, or NT$3.54 per share, as it has transformed itself into a supplier of driver ICs used in LCD panels and memory chips for other companies.
“Powerchip has to build a new fab to fill clients’ orders,” founder Frank Huang (黃崇仁) told a media briefing. “We are having headaches about capacity distribution. Our factories are running almost at 100 percent now.”
It plans to invest NT$58 billion into the first phase of construction of the plant, which will be the firm’s fourth, he said, adding that it has been designated to produce 20-nanometer chips, with an installed capacity of 100,000 wafers.
“The Fab 4 will help increase capacity of logic chips, rather than memory chips,” Huang said, adding that construction is set to begin in 2020.
Making a comeback to the local stock market would help fund the construction, Huang said.
Powerchip makes driver ICs, metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistors (MOSFETs), and niche chips for other firms.
MOSFETs are transistors that can change conductivity with the amount of applied voltage and can be used for amplifying or switching electronic signals.
MOSFET supplies have tightened due to strong demand from new applications such as electric vehicles and Internet-of-Thing devices, Powerchip said.
Their use in electric cars is expected to double from today’s 10 units to about 20, or 25 units, Huang said, adding that Powerchip also supplies memory chips for the mining of cryptocurrency such as ethereum.