Oerlikon’s double-barrel news about the sale of its Oerlikon Esec business unit to BESI, and expected management buyout of its etch unit brings to fruition strategic plans I got wind of in October at SEMICON Europa. At that time, Sven Jarby, who heads up marketing and communications for Oerlikon Balzer’s Coating, alluded to the company’s strategic plans to focus on applications that appeal to its core competencies; thin film and coating for TSV processes and solar panels.
By divesting itself of its only traditional back-end semiconductor unit, the wire and die bonder business, Dr. Uwe Krüger, CEO of the Oerlikon Group, says “Oerlikon has significantly reduced its exposure to the cyclical semiconductor market.” It becomes more apparent as companies align themselves vertically that knowing what your company’s core competencies are and focusing on those is a good way to carve a niche in the future of the industry.
The other ponderable question is what BESI will do with Oerlikon Esec’s die bonder division. The organization already holds a strong market position in the die bonder arena with Datacon. According to a press release from BESI, the Esec brand name will be retained, and plans are underway to leverage synergies between the two companies. I’ll be curious to find out what becomes of the Oerlikon Esec/Muehlbauer alliance that was announced in November, which was intended to provide turnkey solutions for the smart card module industry. It’s no secret that Datacon is firmly established in RFID technologies. Will this make for strange bedfellows or will it be a merging of the minds? I’ll be keeping my eye on this one.