Globalwafers boss is fighting for a billion-dollar takeover of Siltronic

Doris Hsu

The head of Globalwafers is sticking to the takeover of Siltronic despite resistance from the Federal Ministry of Economics.

(Photo: Globalwafers)

Munich, Berlin Globalwafers boss Doris Hsu still considers the takeover of the Munich rival Siltronic to be realistic. “Time is short, but legal approval is still possible,” Hsu told the Handelsblatt over the weekend. “We offered comprehensive solutions to all concerns, including reversing the transaction. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

Meanwhile, the clock is ticking: for 13 months, Hsu has been trying to convince the officials at the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology of the transaction – without success. The Taiwanese now only has until January 31 to obtain the permit. Otherwise the 4.35 billion euro deal will collapse.

On Friday, the Chinese antitrust authorities approved the purchase subject to certain conditions. “It is very gratifying that we received the approval from China. Now all countries except Germany have agreed,” emphasized Hsu.

However, the takeover seems unlikely. The ministry in Berlin had reservations from the start. Globalwafers has therefore offered the federal government far-reaching concessions. This includes a “golden share” that the German state could use to influence Siltronic. If global wafers are sold, a right of repurchase could therefore apply.

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Nevertheless, according to Handelsblatt information, the Ministry of Robert Habeck (Greens) is still not very enthusiastic about the planned merger. The microchip industry is considered to be one of the future areas on which the country’s technological sovereignty largely depends. Wafers are indispensable for this.

A sale does not fit the political agenda

Siltronic manufactures silicon disks from which semiconductors are made, the so-called wafers. Globalwafers is number three on the world market. Together with the number four, Siltronic, the Taiwanese want to catch up with the Japanese industry leader Shin-Etsu.

The promotion of the domestic chip industry is at the top of the agenda in the Ministry of Economic Affairs. In mid-December, Habeck selected 32 microelectronics company projects as one of his first official actions, which are to be massively funded as part of a European IPCEI project.


The multi-billion dollar takeover of wafer manufacturer Siltronic by Taiwan rival Globalwafers is becoming increasingly unlikely.

(Photo: dpa)

IPCEI stands for “Important Project of Common European Interest”. “We have to work together to cover our microelectronics needs ourselves and bring more production to Germany and Europe again. We will take billions in funding for this,” the minister said.

A sale of the last German wafer manufacturer to Asia would hardly be possible, according to those close to the ministry. “Funding the microchip industry on a large scale and then agreeing to sell such an important company wouldn’t really go together,” said an insider.

The Globalwafers boss sees things differently. “I fully understand that the EU and Germany want to strengthen the European semiconductor industry. But that will only succeed with strong partners like Globalwafers.” The group manager emphasized that her company has been the most important wafer supplier to the European chip industry for years. Hsu asserts: “We have proven that we can be trusted.”

Siltronic is skeptical

Siltronic itself has recently expressed skepticism that the deal will go ahead. In mid-January, the group announced that Siltronic had “not received any information as to whether and under what circumstances a foreign trade clearance certificate can be issued for the public takeover of Siltronic AG by Globalwafers”. Apparently, a security agreement could not have dispelled the authority’s concerns.

If approval is not granted, Globalwafers will serve customers in Europe more from overseas, Hsu said. Less money would then flow to Europe. Hsu: “If the deal fails, we will probably invest in America rather than in Europe.”

A ministry spokeswoman said on Friday that she was unable to comment on the status and the procedure. Investment appraisal procedures often contain very complex questions and matters that would require close examination.

The government of Taiwan, however, supports the deal. “We very much welcome the merger of Siltronic and Globalwafers. It underscores the strong partnership between Europe and Taiwan,” Vice Premier Jong-Chin Shen said over the weekend.

The investors have meanwhile already ticked off the deal. Siltronic shares are currently trading at around 125 euros, which is 20 euros below the price offered by Globalwafers – if the transaction goes through.

More: “Germany is facing fundamental problems” – high-tech is suffering a decline in this country

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