■ SKGC and Tokuyama to establish a joint venture to produce/sell high purity IPA, cleaner for semiconductor/LCD manufacturing
– Invest KRW 120 billion with 50:50 shareholding rate, expect to see an upturn in IPA demand fueled by the expansion of the semiconductor market
– Anticipate synergy between Tokuyama’s technological competitiveness and SKGC’s raw material supply, operating, and marketing capabilities
SK Geo Centric and Japanese chemical corporation Tokuyama set out to establish a joint venture (JV) to produce and sell high purity Isopropyl Alcohol (hereinafter, ‘IPA’) for semiconductors.
On December 29, 2021, SK Geo Centric announced that the company and Tokuyama decided to invest roughly KRW 120 billion in a joint venture in Ulsan, Korea. The JV will produce and sell high purity IPA for semiconductors with an annual production capacity of 30,000 tons. In terms of investment and ownership, it is a 50:50 joint venture. The JV manufacturing plant will complete construction and begin pilot operations in 2023 before being commercialized in 2024.
According to the terms of this partnership, each company will play distinct roles: Tokuyama will provide related production technologies, while SK Geo Centric will be in charge of raw material supply, process operation, and marketing, among other things. The two anticipate that their collaboration will provide significant synergy in the domestic high purity IPA market.
High purity IPA is a highly evaporative solvent used in the electronic industry, particularly for wafer cleaning in the semiconductor manufacturing process, and as a cleaner in the LCD production process. With the advancement of cutting-edge technologies such as 5G, IoT, AI, and DX (Digital Transformation), it is projected that the high purity IPA market would grow at an annual rate of around 8% in the semiconductor industry alone. As a result, the industry anticipates that demand for high purity IPA used in semiconductor manufacturing will continue to rise.
Demand for high purity IPA is predicted to exceed supply in Korea from 2025, thanks to plant expansions by Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. At the moment, in Korea, there is only one company produces high purity IPA, and only a little amount is shipped from abroad.
Tokuyama is a global leader known for technological advantage based on self-developed an integrated process of IPA purification with clients in Japan, Taiwan, and etc. The integrated purification process is a way in which entire processes such as reaction, purification, shipping, and others are completed in one plant, which is beneficial in terms of quality control.
The JV will be able to create high purity IPA with quality and cost competitiveness by combining SK Geo Centric’s steady supply of raw materials such as propylene and Tokuyama’s integrated high purity IPA production facility building. More importantly, both companies intend to make high purity IPA using an environmentally friendly process that employs waste and utility reduction facilities.
“We will continue to produce high-value-added products for the future growth industry and raise the values required by customers by securing eco-friendly technology,” said Choi Ahn-seop, Head of Strategy Division, SK Geo Centric.
[Photo] Choi Ahn-seop (left), Head of SK Geo Centric’s Strategy Division, and Hiroshi Nomura, Representative Director, Senior Managing Executive Officer of Tokuyama Corporation, pose for a commemorative photo at the online signing ceremony for the joint venture in December 2021.