JSR to acquire U.S. maker of cutting-edge photoresists

A chipmaking facility in Germany. Chipmakers are seeking more sophisticated photoresists as semiconductors become smaller.   © Reuters

YUKI ISHIKAWA, Nikkei staff writer | Japan

TOKYO — Japanese semiconductor materials maker JSR said Friday it would acquire Oregon-based Inpria, with an eye on the latter’s expertise in cutting-edge chipmaking chemicals.

JSR, which currently owns a 21% stake in Inpria, will acquire all remaining shares in cash by the end of October.

JSR CEO Eric Johnson told reporters online on Friday that he intends for Inpria to turn a profit by fiscal 2022.

“Chipmakers highly value Inpria’s technology, and I think we are on a promising path toward profitability,” JSR Managing Officer Tadahiro Suhara said. Inpria has a strong reputation in photoresists, including those used in extreme-ultraviolet lithography.

Photoresists are used to print circuits on silicon wafers. Chipmakers have been demanding more sophisticated products as semiconductors become smaller.

JSR also hopes to tap Inpria’s technology in metal-oxide photoresists, which are designed for the production of next-generation semiconductors. JSR and other Japanese companies hold about 90% of global share in photoresists.

After selling its original elastomer operations to oil company Eneos in May, JSR has been setting its sights on chipmaking materials and life sciences.

The global market for photoresists will double in the next decade, Johnson said, adding that continued aggressive investments will be key to JSR maintaining a technological edge.

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