ST/Cree wafer supply agreement
Following on from last month's announcement by STMicroelectronics that they had produced their first 200 mm wafers (see last week's blog post), ST and Cree/Wolfspeed have today announced a 150 mm wafers supply deal from the latter to the former.
The agreement, which is an extension of an existing supply deal, will see Cree 'supply ST with 150 mm silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers over the next several years' and is 'worth more than $800 million'.
A first takeaway is to reiterate my point from last week, that ST are still a little way from supplying their own SiC material.
However, ST are not alone in being a SiC chip manufacturer dependent on Cree for the majority of its wafers. As Cree/Wolfspeed are also one of the major manufacturers of SiC chips, this puts them in an enviable position, but this must surely put their competitors in a tricky one in terms of security of supply. This helps frame the need for continual in-house development, in ST's Norstel and Rohm's SiCrystal, and hence the type of announcement seen last month.
Cree will 'supply ST with 150 mm silicon carbide bare and epitaxial wafers over the next several years' and is 'worth more than $800 million'.
Following St's breakthrough last week, producing their first 200 mm wafers, it is notable that there is no mention of 200 mm wafers in this latest release. This is no surprise really, as this is a continuation of a 150 mm wafer supply agreement, wafers ST use in their established processes. However, one of the most interesting questions for me going forward is, if Cree are rolling out 200 mm wafers for their own chips in 2022, when will they be prepared to sell these to their competitors also?
While it is intriguing to think that Cree might keep their 200 mm wafers for themselves, we can't ignore the revenue that such deals would bring in for Cree as they look to recoup the enormous Mohawk Valley investment. Meanwhile, the emergence of potentially serious competition to Cree in the materials market, from GT Advanced Technologies and the other in-house suppliers, this may force that decision sooner rather than later.