Applied Materials Dilutes Shares in Semiconductor Joint Venture

Applied Materials, Inc. and Dainippon Screen Mfg. Co., Ltd. (Screen) today announced that they have signed an agreement to revise the ownership structure of their joint venture company, Sokudo Co., Ltd. Under the agreement, Screen will own 81% of the coat/develop track system company and operate it as a subsidiary, and Applied Materials will retain a 19% interest, down from its original 48% interest. This new structure will more accurately reflect the ongoing contributions from both shareholders.

In response to the significantly weakened market for semiconductor equipment, Sokudo's global sales and service operations will be streamlined to be more efficient in this business environment. Applied Materials will continue to support Sokudo with key management, customer support, and product development as part of its commitment to both Screen and the companies' shared customer base. Applied is also working closely with Sokudo and Screen at its Maydan Technology Center and expects this alliance to provide further opportunities for future collaboration.

Since the formation of the joint venture three years ago, Sokudo has built a solid position in the coat/develop track market based on its introduction of several significant products, beginning with the Sokudo RF3S system. Most recently, using the combined strengths of Screen and Applied Materials, Sokudo introduced the breakthrough SOKUDO DUO system, which provides customers with the world's first dual-track system for high productivity processing.

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