SAFC Will Acquire Britain's Epichem | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: February 13, 2007

SAFC Will Acquire Britain's Epichem

Companies say a stronger electronic chemicals player will emerge from the deal
Department: Business
Epichem's organometallic precursor chemicals are used in semiconductor fabrication.
Credit: Intel
Epichem's organometallic precursor chemicals are used in semiconductor fabrication.
Credit: Intel

Sigma-Aldrich has acquired Epichem, a Bromborough, England-based electronic chemicals maker, for $60 million in cash. Sigma-Adrich says the acquisition will add about $40 million in annual revenues to its advanced materials business, SAFC Hitech.

Epichem supplies organometallic precursor chemicals to the electronics industry. When applied via chemical vapor deposition (CVD), these materials leave thin functional layers on silicon wafers. Among Epichem's offering are molecules containing indium, gallium, aluminum, magnesium, iron, zinc, antimony, and phosphorus. The company also makes precursors of oxides and nitrides, as well as silane and boron trichloride gases.

SAFC Hitech already produces CVD precursors based on copper, lead, titanium, and aluminum. The company also makes high-purity solvents and photoresist dyes for the electronics market.

"The synergy created through this acquisition is a great fit for both organizations," says Barry Leese, Epichem's general manager, founder, and majority shareholder. With the deal, Leese is becoming president of SAFC Hitech.

Frank Wicks, SAFC's president, adds that the acquisition will give SAFC Hitech a shot in the arm. "Epichem's strong product portfolio and solid relations with key end users and equipment suppliers bring important new global customer relations to SAFC Hitech," he says.

Air Products & Chemicals, itself a large player in organometallic precursors and other electronic chemicals, had a substantial shareholding in Epichem from 1985 to 1996. Intel Capital, the venture capital arm of semiconductor maker Intel, was the sole investor in Epichem in a 2005 financing round.

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