STC MEMS, former Infotonics Center, most recently a division of SUNY POLY
Akoustis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:AKTS), a manufacturer of patented single-crystal BulkONE® bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced today it has entered into binding, definitive agreements to acquire assets from the Research Foundation for the State University of New York (RF-SUNY) and Fuller Road Management Corporation (FRMC), an affiliate of RF-SUNY. The assets being acquired include STC-MEMS, a semiconductor wafer manufacturing operation and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) business with associated wafer production tools, as well as real estate associated with the facility located in Canandaigua, New York, near Rochester.
Under the terms of the agreements, Akoustis will pay $2.75 million in cash at closing to RF-SUNY and FRMC, subject to certain adjustments and customary closing conditions. The transaction is expected to be completed in the second quarter of calendar year 2017. As part of the signed definitive agreements, Akoustis plans to acquire all of the following:
- 120,000 sq. ft. commercial wafer manufacturing facility located in Canandaigua, NY, which includes Class 100/Class 1000 cleanroom space (“NY Facility”).
- 57-acres of real property associated with the NY Facility.
- 150-mm silicon MEMS wafer fab operations, including all semiconductor manufacturing tools.
- Existing silicon-based MEMS business with annual revenues of approximately $3M from multiple customers, including a tier-1 mobile wireless solutions OEM.
- Trusted Foundry accreditation for MEMS processing, packaging and assembly.
- Two existing tenants with multi-year leases.
Dr. Art Geiss, Co-Chairman of Akoustis, said, “Akoustis will merge its patented BulkOne® BAW RF filter process into the STC-MEMS foundry, an operating silicon-wafer-based MEMs manufacturer. Since there is significant overlap between the tools and processes used to produce our BAW devices and silicon-based MEMS, transferring our process into the STC-MEMS foundry will accelerate the technology into production. In addition, we believe that some of the foundry processes used in silicon-based MEMS manufacturing may be utilized in new ways to make further performance improvements in Akoustis’ single-crystal BAW RF filters.”
Jerry Neal, Co-Chairman of Akoustis, added, “This acquisition is an enormous win for Akoustis and is consistent with our capital-efficient business model. A comparable manufacturing facility to build and qualify for production would take up to 2-years and cost well over $50 million, not to mention the challenges of recruiting and training qualified personnel.”
The transaction allows Akoustis to internalize manufacturing providing substantial capacity and control of its wafer supply chain for single crystal BAW RF filters. Akoustis plans to utilize the NY Facility to consolidate all aspects of wafer manufacturing for its disruptive and patented high-band RF filters targeting the multi-billion mobile and other wireless markets. This planned consolidation of the Company’s supply chain into the NY Facility is expected to shorten time-to-market for its RF products, greatly enhancing the Company’s ability to service customers. Shorter time-to-market cycles provide the Company the opportunity to increase the number of customer engagements.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “When combined with its skilled workforce, the Finger Lakes region’s burgeoning R&D and advanced manufacturing industry cluster create the perfect environment for innovative companies like Akoustis to grow and thrive. The addition of new research and manufacturing jobs in Canandaigua will diversify and strengthen the local economy and help to ensure the region continues moving in the right direction.”
Jeff Shealy, CEO of Akoustis, commented, “We look forward to welcoming the dedicated professionals at STC-MEMS into the Akoustis family, and thank Governor Cuomo and his entire organization for their tireless efforts attracting Akoustis to New York State.”
Akoustis plans to maintain the existing customer engagements which are transferred as part of the transaction. The Company plans to maintain the existing Trusted Foundry accreditation for MEMS processing, packaging and module assembly and will seek to expand the accreditation for the NY facility to include BAW RF filters and sensors.
Concern regarding the Department of Defense Trusted Foundry in Canandaigua ran high in Rochester’s Optics, Photonics and Imaging Community since last year’s indictment of SUNY POLY, New York State, and construction officials by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara for bid-rigging. This is a very welcome announcement.