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SK Inc. to buy controlling stake in local EV chip design firm

A Yes Power Technix worker poses for a photo with a silicon carbide semiconductor wafer. (SK Inc.)
A Yes Power Technix worker poses for a photo with a silicon carbide semiconductor wafer. (SK Inc.)
SK Inc., a holding company of South Korea’s second-largest business group, said Wednesday it would become a controlling shareholder of local electric vehicle semiconductor firm Yes Power Technix in a 120 billion won ($95 million) deal.

The strategic investment involving a share sale and a new rights offering means that SK Inc. will control a 95.8 percent stake in the company. Based in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, Yes Power Technix is dedicated to silicon carbide power semiconductor design and manufacturing. SK Inc. has owned a 35 percent stake in the company following a 26.8 billion won investment in January 2021.

The investment is aimed at securing a foothold in the growing silicon carbide power semiconductor market, as more EVs like Tesla’s Model 3 are adopting chips with more heat-resistant material, according to SK Inc.

Power semiconductors made of silicon or silicon carbide are used to regulate the direction of electrical currents and convert power, and are considered a key component of EVs, electronic goods and 5G network infrastructure. According to SK, silicon carbide power semiconductors are more resistant to heat and high-voltage environments, while being slimmer compared to their silicon power counterparts.

Moreover, SK anticipates a domestic silicon carbide chip supply chain which includes the silicon carbide chip wafer firm SK Siltron.

“The acquisition is a step forward to strengthening our investment in key technologies concerning electric vehicles,” Kim Yang-taek, executive vice president of SK Inc.’s Advanced Materials Investment Center, said in a statement. “Through rapid production ramp-up, we expect the acquisition to support our ambitious plan to become a global leader in advanced materials.”

(consnow@heraldcorp.com)
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