SAFC Hitech Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation , a leading Life Science and High Technology company, has signed an agreement to create a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with Korean-based Soulbrain Co. Ltd. ("Soulbrain").
Soulbrain is a publicly traded (KOSDAQ: 036830) specialty chemical company serving the flat panel display, semiconductor and electronic materials market. The joint venture, known as Soulbrain Sigma-Aldrich Ltd., is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalized early in the first quarter of 2013.
The newly formed JV will serve the Korean market and will focus on developing and commercializing advanced metal organic precursor technologies used in the semiconductor and LED markets. Soulbrain will contribute certain electronic material product know-how, intellectual property (IP), and development personnel to the venture. SAFC Hitech Ltd. will contribute related manufacturing and product know-how and IP for metal organic compounds used to manufacture semiconductors and will license its technology to the joint venture for products used to manufacture light emitting diodes (LED). The combination is expected to leverage the strong market position and customer intimacy of Soulbrain, and utilize SAFC Hitech's precursor technologies to better serve Korean customers.
Soulbrain will be the exclusive distributor for products manufactured or otherwise acquired by the newly formed joint venture within the Korean market. With limited exceptions, joint venture-developed products for export outside Korea will be distributed by SAFC Hitech Ltd. or its affiliates.
Soulbrain is a key supplier of specialty electronic materials to manufacturers of semiconductors and flat panel displays. The company has a strong reputation as a technology provider to the Korean electronic materials market, which accounts for more than one-third of the global semiconductor precursor demand. Soulbrain also brings existing customer relationships, research and development (R&D), direct sales, technical marketing, manufacturing and other supply chain components to the venture. SAFC Hitech brings its existing product portfolio and global technological expertise.
Commenting on the arrangement, Sigma-Aldrich Corporation President and CEO Rakesh Sachdev stated, "We continue to grow our presence in the Asia Pacific region, where the majority of electronic products are manufactured today. The creation of this joint venture enables us to extend our capabilities in the region and gain greater customer access through Soulbrain's established technical competencies, infrastructure and customer relationships. We are pleased to partner with Soulbrain to bring new advances to the semiconductor and LED markets."
Ji-Wan Chung , Soulbrain Chairman, commented, "Soulbrain's manufacturing capabilities combined with SAFC Hitech's precursor know-how and semiconductor electronic material product pipeline offer the growing Korean market more technologically robust solutions. SAFC Hitech is a well-known specialty chemical manufacturer with a broad range of technical competencies and is an ideal partner to help better serve the needs of our customers in Korea."
Soulbrain is headquartered in Pangyo, Korea and employs approximately 870 employees in three manufacturing sites in Korea.