Friday, October 22, 2010

Power Integrations Announces Strategic Investment in SemiSouth Laboratories

STARKVILLE, Miss. & SAN JOSE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Power Integrations (Nasdaq: POWI), the leader in high-voltage integrated circuits for energy-efficient power conversion, today announced a strategic investment in SemiSouth Laboratories, Inc., a Mississippi-based manufacturer of high-voltage silicon-carbide (SiC) semiconductor devices. Power Integrations’ commitment of $30 million, which includes an equity investment in SemiSouth, a technology license and other financial commitments, will help drive the continued expansion of SemiSouth’s SiC fabrication facility and spur continued growth of clean-tech jobs in Mississippi. The companies will collaborate to drive adoption of SemiSouth’s SiC technology, which enables ultra-efficient power conversion for solar and wind inverters, hybrid/electric vehicles and other applications that benefit from exceptionally high energy efficiency.

“SemiSouth has made impressive breakthroughs in the development of silicon-carbide technology, attaining exceptionally high levels of efficiency and establishing SiC as an enabler of clean technologies such as solar energy and hybrid/electric vehicles,” stated Balu Balakrishnan, president and CEO of Power Integrations. “With a mutual focus on energy-efficient high-voltage semiconductor technology, Power Integrations and SemiSouth are natural strategic partners. We are particularly enthusiastic about investing in Mississippi’s emerging high-tech sector, where strong support from government and the academic community has created an environment highly conducive to innovation and private-sector investment.”The new relationship will be formally announced today at SemiSouth’s Starkville headquarters, located in the Thad Cochran Technology Park. A number of notable public officials will be on hand for the announcement, including Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, U.S. Representative Gregg Harper, and Dr. Mark Keenum, president of Mississippi State University.

"Today's announcement is a testament to SemiSouth's success and to Mississippi’s growing stature as a center for technology and innovation," said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. “As a leader in automotive manufacturing, Mississippi understands the strategic importance of advanced power electronics, which are becoming a critical part of the supply chain as the industry migrates to hybrid/electric vehicles. Home-grown innovations like SemiSouth’s SiC technology represent a tremendous economic opportunity for our state. We welcome Power Integrations’ involvement in SemiSouth and Mississippi's clean-tech initiatives."

Added Kenney Roberts, president and CEO of SemiSouth, “SemiSouth has recently been recognized by its customers for having world-record, cost-effective, energy-efficient power semiconductor electronic products based on SiC technology. In response to unprecedented global demand for our products in energy-sensitive markets such as solar inverters, server power supplies, wind inverters, and electric vehicle development, we needed to find the right investor willing to share our vision of expansion. We welcome Power Integrations’ investment in SemiSouth’s future, to allow us to quickly expand and serve our customers on a much broader scale.”

"I applaud SemiSouth for their success in creating new clean-tech jobs for Mississippians and helping transform our state into a technology hub that will drive the future's renewable energy technologies," said U.S. Representative Gregg Harper, a freshman from Mississippi’s Third Congressional District. “Working in tandem, SemiSouth and Power Integrations are fostering the development of clean technologies that will provide renewable energy solutions throughout the world."

Founded in 2000 as a spin-out from Mississippi State University, SemiSouth is a privately held, venture-backed semiconductor company with more than 20 U.S. patents in the emerging field of high-efficiency silicon-carbide power devices. The company’s products, which include 1200 V and 1700 V transistors as well as high-voltage diodes and power modules, enable ultra-efficient power conversion and power management in applications ranging from three kilowatts to 100 kilowatts today, with products in development to serve applications up to one megawatt. The company operates a 10,000-square-foot clean-room facility at its Starkville headquarters, where it employs more than 70 people.

Power Integrations, based in San Jose, Calif., pioneered the market for high-voltage integrated circuits used in AC-DC power supplies. The company’sEcoSmart™ energy-efficiency technology drastically cuts standby energy consumption, the power wasted by electronic products that are plugged in but not in use. The company has sold nearly four billion EcoSmartchips since 1998, saving an estimated $4.4 billion of standby power and preventing millions of tons of carbon emissions. The company’s chips can be found in all manner of electronic products including computers, appliances, mobile-phone chargers, consumer electronics and LED lights.