Issue Date: February 19, 2007
Sigma-Aldrich Buys Epichem
Sigma-Aldrich has acquired Epichem, a British electronic chemicals maker, for $60 million in cash. Sigma-Aldrich says Epichem's $40 million in annual revenues will triple the electronic chemicals sales of its SAFC fine chemicals unit. Epichem is a leading supplier of organometallic precursor chemicals to the electronics industry. When applied via chemical vapor deposition (CVD), these materials leave thin metal layers on silicon wafers. Among Epichem's offerings are molecules containing indium, gallium, aluminum, magnesium, and phosphorus. It is also developing hafnium-based, high-dielectric-constant (high-k) precursors for next-generation transistors. Although SAFC's advanced materials business, SAFC Hitech, already produces some CVD precursors, SAFC President Frank Wicks acknowledges that Epichem is relatively more leading edge. "What attracted us most is that they are strong on the innovation side, and we had the capacity that they needed," he says. Epichem has had a relationship with chipmaker Intel, whose venture arm was the sole investor in Epichem in a 2005 financing round. Intel recently announced it has made next-generation chips by replacing silicon dioxide transistor dielectrics with hafnium-based materials.
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