Siltronic can go it alone, CEO says after GlobalWafers deal breaks down

FILE PHOTO: A scientist presents a silicon wafer during a media presentation in one of the low particle pollution nanofabrication clean rooms of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL) in Ecublens, near Lausanne May 16, 2011. REUTERS/Valentin Flauraud

BERLIN (Reuters) -German wafer maker Siltronic saw a good start to 2022 and is convinced it can go it alone after a planned sale to Taiwan's GlobalWafers collapsed, saying global demand for scarce chips will remain high in the long term.

"We now see ourselves in a strong position to remain successful as an independent company," Chief Executive Officer Christoph von Plotho said on Wednesday, citing a planned new factory in Singapore that reflects its growth ambitions.

A strong economic rebound from the pandemic as well as rising demand for semiconductors from the tech and automotive industries have caused a global shortage of chips, fuelling demand for new production capacity worldwide.

Siltronic said it expected these "megatrends" to ensure high demand in the mid- to long-term, a factor that has also boosted efforts to set up more chip production capacity in Europe to reduce dependence on Asia.

GlobalWafers' planned 4.35-billion-euro ($4.89 billion) takeover of Siltronic collapsed late on Monday as the deal did not receive regulatory approval in time.

The door remains open for another attempt, although GlobalWafers said it would announce on Feb. 6 how it intended to use the money the deal would have cost.

Siltronic shares were last up 3.1% at 124.20 euros. GlobalWafers had bid 145 euros per share.

Von Plotho, in an interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, said a fresh bid at the same level would be "barely attractive" in light of more favourable conditions in the industry since GlobalWafers first bid in late 2020.

"Much has changed. Wafers are scarce, and prices are going up," he told the paper.

Siltronic reported a 17% rise in fourth-quarter earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) to 144 million euros, boosted by the release of around 12 million euros in provisions after the failed deal.

Full-year sales rose 16% to 1.405 billion euros, thanks to a rebound from depressed 2020 levels, a stronger U.S. dollar and slightly higher prices in the second half of the year.

Siltronic said ongoing geopolitical and global economic uncertainties, as well as the pandemic, would continue to shape 2022 and warned rising costs and inflation would weigh on earnings.

($1 = 0.8862 euros)

(Reporting by Riham Alkousaa and Christoph SteitzEditing by Subhranshu Sahu and Mark Potter)

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