Rediff Logo Infotech Banner Ads Find/Feedback/Site Index
September 10, 1997


State-owned chip maker looking for JV partner overseas

Semiconductor Complex Limited, a public sector chip manufacturer, is seeking a joint venture partnership with leading multinational semiconductor manufacturers to upgrade and expand its fabrication facilities to manufacture cutting edge technology products.

The state-owned company is also scouting for partners for technology and applications to manufacture a range of smart cards.

SCL Chairman and Managing Director M J Zarabi has said that the company has already appointed ICICI Securities to prepare an information memorandum or a prospectus for circulation among the prospective joint venture partners.

Zarabi said the government may settle for a minority stake of 26 per cent in these joint ventures. However, a decision on equity holding would be decided on by mutual agreement.

He said the company has identified smart cards as the thrust area and has already developed a few prototypes. A joint venture with one of the European manufacturers of smart cards will help the company make a range of smart cards of the latest technology that can be put to a variety of uses.

"In the next six-eight months, we expect something tangible to happen," said Zarabi, elaborating on joint venture plans for smart cards. There could be more than one joint venture/strategic alliance, a separate alliance could be entered into for design and manufacturing.

Smart cards are plastic cards with an integrated semiconductor chip implanted in it. The telecommunication industry worldwide is one of the largest users of this technology for pre-paid calling cards.

Zarabi said the company is in the process of establishing a line for the manufacture of smart cards including the micromodule assembly. The line would initially have the capacity to manufacture about three million cards per annum. Over a period of time, the capacity would be expanded to 10 million cards per annum.

SCL had recently completed rebuilding its fabrication facility at SAS Nagar, near Chandigarh, at an estimated cost of Rs 3.32 billion. The facility was destroyed in a fire in 1989.

Trial production to manufacture six-inch semiconductor wafer is currently being carried out at the facility. Zarabi said the company expects to begin commercial production of the 1.2 micron wafers in mid-September. The facility has the installed capacity to manufacture 20,000 wafers.

- Compiled from the Indian media

Tell us what you think of this story