Taiwan's Foxconn buys $90.8 million wafer plant from Macronix, eyeing EV chips

A sign of Foxconn is seen at a glass door inside its office building in Taipei, Taiwan November 12, 2020. REUTERS/Ann Wang

TAIPEI (Reuters) -Foxconn said on Thursday it has bought a chip plant from Taiwan chipmaker Macronix International for T$2.52 billion ($90.8 million), as the electronics giant looks to make auto chips amid its foray into the electric vehicle (EV) market.

Electronics manufacturing conglomerate Foxconn, which counts giants such as Apple among its top clients, has been seeking to acquire chip plants globally as a worldwide chip shortage rattles producers of goods from cars to electronics.

The supply bottleneck has led to production cuts and warnings of supply chain disruptions from manufacturers across the world this year.

In a joint news conference, Foxconn and Macronix said the sale of the 6-inch wafer fabrication plant (fab) in Taiwan's chip-making hub of Hsinchu will be finalised by the end of this year. The plant is not currently in operation.

Foxconn Chairman Liu Young-way told reporters the fab is gearing to produce 15,000 wafers per month by 2024, which could supply silicon carbide semiconductors for 30,000 EVs a month.

"The 6-inch fab might no longer be the best fit for Macronix, and Foxconn saw it as a very good opportunity," Liu said, calling the purchase a milestone for the company's new EV business.

Foxconn has in recent months announced plans to become a major player in the global EV market and has said it was in talks with foundries on possible collaboration to make chips for EVs.

Liu said the target production was slim but it was "only a start" for Foxcon's plan to become a major player for automotive chips.

Foxconn, which counts semiconductors among its core businesses, announced in May a joint venture with Yageo Corp to make small integrated circuit products.

Liu said the Hsinchu fab will become the global semiconductor hub for Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co Ltd.

($1 = 27.7470 Taiwan dollars)

(Reporting by Yimou Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong, Sonali Paul and Kim Coghill)

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