STMicroelectronics (, )
is an franco-italian electronics and semiconductor manufacturer headquartered in in Geneva, Switzerland.
While STMicroelectronics corporate headquarters and the headquarters for Europe and emerging markets, are based in Geneva, the holding company, STMicroelectronics N.V. is registered in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
The company’s US headquarters are in Carrollton, Texas. Headquarters for the Asia-Pacific region are based in Singapore and Japanese operations are headquartered in Tokyo. The company headquarters for the Greater China region are in Shanghai.
STMicroelectronics was formed in June 1987 by the merger of semiconductor companies SGS Microelettronica of Italy
and Thomson Semiconducteurs, the semiconductor arm of France
. At the time of the merger the company was known as SGS-THOMSON but took its current name in May 1998 following the withdrawal of Thomson SA as an owner.
SGS Microelettronica and Thomson Semiconducteurs were both long-established semiconductor companies.
SGS Microelettronica originated in 1972 from a previous merger of two companies:
- ATES (Aquila Tubi e Semiconduttori), a vacuum tube and semiconductor maker headquartered in the Abruzzese city of l'Aquila, who in 1961 changed its name into Azienda Tecnica ed Elettronica del Sud and relocated its manufacturing plant in the outskirts of the Sicilian city of Catania
- Società Generale Semiconduttori (founded in 1957 by Adriano Olivetti).
Thomson Semiconducteurs was created in 1982 by the French government's widespread nationalisation of industries. It included:
After its creation by merger in 1987, SGS-Thomson was ranked 14th among the top 20 semiconductor suppliers with sales of around US$850 million. The company has participated in the consolidation of the semiconductor industry since its formation, with acquisitions including:
- In 1989, British company Inmos known for its transputer microprocessors from parent Thorn EMI.
- In 1994, Canada-based Nortel's semiconductor activities.
- In 2002, Alcatel's Microelectronics division, which along with the incorporation of smaller ventures such as UK company, Synad Ltd, helped the company expand into the Wireless-LAN market.
On 8 December 1994, the company completed its initial public offering on the Paris and New York stock exchanges. Owner Thomson SA sold its stake in the company in 1998 when the company also listed on the Borsa Italiana in Milan.
By 2005, STMicroelectronics was ranked fifth, behind Intel, Samsung, Texas Instruments and Toshiba, but ahead of Infineon, Renesas, NEC, NXP, and Freescale. The company is the largest European semiconductors supplier, ahead of Infineon and NXP (see Semiconductor sales leaders by year).
As of 2005 the shareholders were:
ST consists of five product groups. Each group is composed of several divisions or business units. Each division is responsible for the design, industrialization, manufacturing and marketing for its own product portfolio. Operations are assisted by a central R&D organisation and the local sales offices.
- Mobile Multimedia Communication: Consumer, multimedia, wireless and wireline products. Digital consumer application specific standard products (ASSPs) such as coders and decoders MPEG-2 and MPEG-4. Wireless ASICs.Smartcards. Electronic Passports.
- Memory Product Group: stand-alone memory chips (EEPROM, Flash memories (nand & nor), serial flash memories and smartcards). Non-volatile memory including NOR and NAND Flash memory now with Numonyx
- Automotive Product Group: Analog and digital chips for the automotive market. Products include car entertainment and digital radio broadcasting integrated circuits; and microcontrollers for automotive, power trains, safety and other application specific products.
- Micro, Power and Analog Group: Analog and power circuits and microcontrollers. Microcontrollers: ST6, ST7, µPSD, ST9, ST10, STR7, STR9, STM32. Discrete semiconductor products
- Computer Peripheral Group: Chips for computer peripherals (hard disk drive controllers, printers, etc).Computer peripheral ASICs (such as hard disk drives and printers
- Front End Technology and Manufacturing: research and development. The company has 16 research and development units and 39 design and application centers.
STMicroelectronics has been involved in developing MEMS since 2001. This research and development was initially done at the company's Castelletto site but since its closure in June 2006, MEMS activities have moved to the Agrate main fab.
Following an earlier failure, STMicroelectronics has stayed out of the volatile markets for DRAM and PC microprocessors. In 1994, it attempted to launch compatible Intel 80486 microprocessors in partnership with American company Cyrix. One model only was completed, the 1995 Cyrix M1 microprocessor, which was intended to compete with Intel's Pentium family.
It did achieve some success, however, in the PC-compatible x86 embedded systems market with its STPC SoC line, culminating in the 486-class STPC Atlas, which reached end-of-life in 2008.
Unlike so-called fabless semiconductor companies
, STMicroelectronics owns and operates its own semiconductor wafer fabs
. The company owned five 8 inch (200 mm) wafer fabs and one 12 inch (300 mm) wafer fab in 2006. Most of the production is scaled at 0.18 µm, 0.13 µm, 90 nm and 65 nm (measurements of gate transistor length). STMicroelectronics also owns back-end plants, where silicon dies are assembled and bonded into plastic or ceramic packages.
Major sites include:
Milan and Catania Italy
Employing 6,000 staff, the Milan facilities match Grenoble in importance. Agrate Brianza
, employs around 4000 staff and is a historical base of the company (ex SGS). The site has several fab
lines (including an 8 inch (200 mm) fab) and an R&D center. Castelletto
, employs 300 to 400 staff and hosts some divisions and R&D centers.
The Catania plant in Sicily employs 5,000 staff and hosts several R&D centers and divisions, focusing on flash memory technologies as well as two fabs. The plant was launched in 1961 by ATES to supply under licensing to RCA of the US and initially using Germanium. The site's two major wafer fabs are * an 8 inch (200 mm) fab, opened in April 1997 by Romano Prodi, president of the Italian council and a 12 inch (300 mm) fab under construction.
Grenoble is one of the company's most important R&D centres, employing around 6,000 staff. The Polygone site employs 2200 staff and is one of the historical bases of the company (ex SGS). All the historical wafer fab
lines are now closed but the site hosts the headquarters of many divisions (marketing, design, industrialization) and an important R&D center, focused on silicon and software design and fab process development.
The Crolles site hosts an 8 inch (200 mm) and a 12 inch (300 mm) fab and was originally built as a common R&D center for submicrometre technologies as part of the 1990 Grenoble 92 partnership between SGS-Thomson and CNET, the R&D center of French telecom company France Telecom. The 8 inch (200 mm) fab, known as Crolles 1, is the company's first and was built as part of a 1991 partnership between SGS-Thomson and Philips to develop new manufacturing technologies. Crolles 1 was opened on 9 September 1993 by Gérard Longuet, French minister for industry.
The 12 inch (300 mm) fab was inaugurated by French president Jacques Chirac, on 27 February 2003. It includes a R&D center which focuses on developing new nanometric technology processes for 90 nm to 32 nm scale using 12 inch (300 mm) wafers is the result of the The Crolles 2 Alliance'. STMicroelectronics, TSMC, NXP Semiconductors (formerly Philips semiconductor) and Freescale (formerly Motorola semiconductor) partnered in 2002 to develop the facility. The technologies developed at the facility are being used by global semiconductor foundry TSMC of Taiwan, to launch production facilities in Taiwan.
Employing around 3,000 staff, Rousset hosts several division headquarters including smartcards
, serial flash
as well as several R&D centers. Rousset also hosts an 8 inch (200 mm) fab which was opened on 15 May 2000
by French prime minister Lionel Jospin
The site opened in 1979 as a 4 inch (100 mm) fab opertated by Eurotechnique, a joint venture between Saint Gobain of France and National Semiconductor of the US. Rousset was sold to Thomson-CSF in 1982 as part of the French government's 1981-82 nationalization of several industries. As part of the nationalisation, a former Thomson plant in the center of Aix-en-Provence operating since the 1960s was closed and staff were transferred to the new Rousset site. The original 4 inch (100 mm) fab was upgraded into 5 inch (130 mm) and later 6 inch (150 mm) fab in 1996. It is now being shut down.
In 1988, a small group of employees from the Thomson Rousset plant (including the director, Marc Lassus) founded a start-up company, Gemalto (formerly known as Gemplus) which became a leader in the smartcard industry.
Employing 1500 staff, this site hosts a fab
and R&D centers.
Ang Mo Kio, Singapore
In 1970, SGS created its first assembly back-end plant in Singapore, in the area of Toa Payoh
. Then in 1981, SGS decided to build a wafer
in Singapore. The Singapore technical engineers have been trained in Italy and the fab of Ang Mo Kio started to produce its first
wafers in 1984. Converted up to 8 inch (200 mm) fab, this is now an important 8 inch (200 mm) wafer fab of the group. Ang Mo Kio also hosts some design centers. The site currently employs 6000 staff.
Greater Noida and Bangalore, India
The Noida was launched in 1992 to conduct software engineering activities. A silicon design center was inaugurated on 14 February 1995. With 120 employees, it was the largest design center of the company outside Europe at the time. In 2006, the site was shifted to Greater Noida for further expansion. The site hosts mainly design teams. A site has also been launched in Bangalore and employs 100.
- Malta: In 1981, SGS-Thomson (now STMicroelectronics) built its first assembly plant in Malta. STMicroelectronics is, as of 2008, the largest private employer on the island, employing around 2,200 people.
- Muar, Malaysia: around 4000 employees. This site was built in 1974 by Thomson and is now an assembly plant.
- Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China, near Hong Kong: In 1994, ST and the Shenzhen Electronics Group signed a partnership to construct and jointly operate an assembly plant (ST has majority with 60%). The plant is located in Futian Free Trade Zone and became operational in 1996. It has around 3,300 employees. A new assembly plant is planned in Longgang for 2008. The R&D, design, sales and marketing office is located in the Hi-tech industrial park in Nanshan district.
- Bristol, UK: approx. 200 employees. This R&D site was built for the British company Inmos Ltd. which in 1978 began development of the famous Transputer microprocessor. The site was acquired with Inmos in 1994, and is now primarily involved with the design of home video products (Set-Top Box, DVD), GPS and Wireless LAN chips, and accompanying software.
- Rabat, Morocco: A design center that employs 160 people.
- Naples, Italy: A Design center employing 300 people.
- Lecce, Italy: HW & SW Design Center which hosts 20 researchers in the Advanced System Technology group.
- Greater Noida, India: A Design Center employing 1700 people.
- San Jose, California, (Silicon Valley), USA): 120 staff in marketing, design and applications.
- La Jolla, California, (San Diego), USA): 80 staff in design and applications.
- Lancaster, Pennsylvania, U.S.: Application, support, and marketing.
- Prague, Czech Republic: 100 to 200 employees. Application, design and support.
- Tunis, Tunisia: 300 employees. Support, Application, design and Ssupport.
- Sophia Antipolis, near Nice, France: Design center with a few hundred employees.
- Edinburgh, UK: Design center.
- Grasbrunn, Germany: Design & Application Center.
- Ottawa, Canada: In 1993, SGS-Thomson purchased the semiconductor activities of Nortel which owned in Ottawa an R&D center and a fab. The fab was closed in 2000, however, a design, R&D centre and sales office is operating in the city.
- Palermo, Sicily, Italy: Design Center.
- Bangalore, India: Design Center.
- Zaventem, Belgium: 100 employees. Design & Application Center.
- Helsinki, Finland: Design Center.
- Turku, Finland: Design Center.
- Oulu, Finland: Design Center.
- Tampere, Finland: Design Center.
- Longmont, USA: Design Center.
- Shanghai, China
- Beijing, China
- La Jolla, CA, U.S.
- Lexington, MA, U.S.
- Marlow, UK
- Tokyo, Japan
- Osaka, Japan
- Nagoya, Japan: Marketing and support.
- Reading, UK
- Schaumburg, Illinois, U.S.
- Wilsonville, U.S.
- Budapest, Hungary
8 inch (200 mm) fab, the Carrollton
6 inch (150 mm) fab, and the Ain Sebaa, Morocco
fab are beginning ramp down plans, and are destined to close by 2010.
The Carrollton site was built in 1969 by Mostek, an American company founded by former employees of Texas Instruments. Mostek was acquired by United Technologies which was in turn purchased by Thomson Semiconducteurs in 1985. Initially equipped with a 4 inch (100 mm) fab, it was converted into a 6 inch (150 mm) fab in 1988. The Colorado Springs activities of British company INMOS were transferred to Carrolton in 1989 following its acquisition SGS Thomson. Since then the site has been refocused to wafer testing. On July 10, 2007, ST announced it would close this fab.
SGS first presence in the US was a sales office based in Phoenix in the early 1980s. Later, under SGS-Thomson, an 8 inch (200 mm) fab was completed in Phoenix in 1995. The company's second 8" fab after Crolles 1, the site was first dedicated to producing microprocessors for Cyrix. The 8 inch (200 mm) fab is now used to manufacture machines for the company. On July 10, 2007, ST said that it would close this fab.
The Casablanca, Morocco site consists of two assembly parts (Bouskoura and Aïn Sebaâ) and totals around 4000 employees. It was opened in the 1960s by Thomson. ST is Morocco's biggest exporter.
- Rennes, France hosted a 6 inch (150 mm) fab and was closed in 2004
- Rancho Bernardo, California, a 4 inch (100 mm) fab created by Nortel and purchased by SGS-Thomson in 1994, after which it was converted into a 6 inch (150 mm) fab in 1996.
- Turkey site in 2007.
- STMicroelectronics and Hynix of South Korean have created a joint-venture to construct a wafer fab for nand flash memories. STMicroelectronics has a 33% stake in ST/Hynix which was intended to be operational by the end of 2006.
- STMicroelectronics is negotiating with Chinese joint venture foundry Hua Hong NEC Electronics Co. Ltd. located in Shanghai to build a 12 inch (300 mm) fab in China. Foundry owners are Hua Hong and NEC of Japan.
- On August 8, 2007 ST bought Nokia's microchip development team and plans to invest heavily in development of cellular ASIC applications. The purchase included Nokia's ASIC team in Southwood UK and the company plans to opening several sites in Finland..
- On December 11, 2007 - ST announced its intention to purchase Genesis Microchip December 11, 2007 press release , and on January 17, 2008 ST announced it had acquired 91% of Genesis and will be having a second tendor offering and completing the merger as quickly as possible. Genesis Microchip is known for their strength in video processing technology (Faroudja) and has design centres located in Santa Clara, Toronto, and Bangalore.