Sony, Renesas pursue fab deal

Renesas Tsuruoka fab

Renesas Tsuruoka fab

Sony is talking about buying Renesas’ Tsuruoka fab to make CMOS image sensors, reports Japan’s Nikkei newspaper.

Sony’s semiconductor sales are expected to fall 28% this year to $4.4 billion and 77% of the company’s chip sales are accounted for by sensors.

The company has earmarked $585 million for investment in its chip business this financial year. The Renesas fab will cost about $100 million. It employs 900 people.

The alternative to buying the Renesas fab is to invest the $100 million in Sony’s own fabs.

Sony is making a big push in CMOS image sensors where it sees great opportunities.

Sony’s new CEO Kaz Hirai said last year: “We can leverage our technology base in image-capturing sensors, lenses, 3D technology, image processing, to mention just a few areas. Those are areas where we already have in-house technologies that really allow us to differentiate ourselves.”

Hirai said that Sony will speed up development of its CMOS technology and seek new products in which CMOS can be used. He emphasized medical equipment products as a key market for its image sensors where people will pay for outstanding quality.

Sony is engaged with Imec in a project developing core CMOS technology which, earlier this year, announced the world’s first functioning CMOS compatible III-V finfet device processed on silicon wafers.

It is thought that a deal for the Tsuruoka fab will be signed next week.

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