Money Merck sees itself on course for semiconductors

06:50  04 december  2020
06:50  04 december  2020 Source:   pressfrom.com

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Merck enables the semiconductor industry to make electronic devices more powerful by providing highly innovative material based solutions. Expertise. Merck ideas are everywhere – they can be life-changing, influencing how we tackle major illness, or be integral to the objects we rely on every day.

The Merck Group, branded and commonly known as Merck , is a German multinational science and technology company headquartered in Darmstadt, with about 57

A good year after the billion-dollar takeover of the US semiconductor supplier Versum Materials, the conversion of specialty chemicals at the Darmstadt-based Merck Group is largely complete.

Vor gut einem Jahr hat Merck den US-Halbleiterzulieferer Versum Materials gekauft. © Arne Dedert / dpa A good year ago Merck bought the US semiconductor supplier Versum Materials.

According to division manager Kai Beckmann, there shouldn't be a similarly large acquisition in the division for the time being. "The pressure for such a transformative takeover is significantly reduced," said the manager to the news agencies dpa and dpa-AFX. Smaller additional acquisitions of certain technologies are therefore to be expected in the division. Until 2022, however, the focus will of course be on paying back debts.

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Versum, a manufacturer of special materials and devices, is one of the most expensive acquisitions in the more than 350-year history of the Dax group with around 5.8 billion euros. The Darmstadt-based company also bought the Californian materials specialist Intermolecular for around 56 million euros - both companies have been part of Merck since autumn 2019. The group is thus aligning its special materials division more closely to the semiconductor business. In the third quarter, it grew strongly thanks to acquisitions. Merck expects an

boost in semiconductors, for example, through trends such as the new 5G mobile communications standard, artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and the Internet of Things. The immense growth in data will drive the business with chips, so the calculation.

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Merck is already playing in the top league worldwide as a supplier of electronic materials for computer chips and displays, said Beckmann. Materials from the Dax group are used in almost all globally produced electronic devices. But Merck also wants to establish itself as a contract researcher for material testing. The future strengths will lie in “offering our customers as much breadth as possible in the chip manufacturing process and not just concentrating on one material class”.

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Merck drew the conclusions from the pressure in the business with liquid crystals, which are used for screens and smartphones, for example. For many years the group was the undisputed market leader here. But then the competition from Asian providers grew. Merck reacted and initiated the realignment with the takeovers. During the Corona crisis, the demand for liquid crystals continued to fall. Merck had to postpone its goal of growing again with special materials in 2020 after a few years.

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A semiconductor material has an electrical conductivity value falling between that of a conductor, such as metallic copper, and an insulator, such as glass.

Currently, the dovetailing of Versum and Intermolecular with Merck is going better than expected, as Beckmann said, despite the corona pandemic. "If someone had told me a year ago that we had to carry out an integration without even getting on the plane, I would have said that it was simply impossible."

With the new additions, Merck not only wants to save costs, but above all generate growth. Beckmann said that intermingling the specialist knowledge of Intermolecular with Merck's research activities opened up new opportunities. He is therefore in good spirits that the planned synergies can be implemented faster than anticipated.

Meanwhile, the color pigments business is feeling the effects of weaker demand from the automotive and cosmetics industries. "The" lipstick effect ", i.e. when the economy is bad, more decorative cosmetics are used, does not work with Corona," explained Beckmann. People went to parties less and often showed their faces covered in masks in public.

When it comes to OLED materials for displays such as smartphones, Merck is now looking more closely at China. The group is investing 18 million euros in a new technology center for semiconductor and OLED materials in Shanghai. "We have to be close to our customers in China and Korea," said Beckmann.

Organic light-emitting diodes are on the advance in displays and are intended to partially replace liquid crystals. With liquid crystals, Merck expects a steady decline in sales in the coming years, said Beckmann. "Ultimately, however, it was the immensely good business with liquid crystals over many years that made the restructuring of the Merck Group possible."

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