Philips has taken over its Taiwanese subsidiary’s stake in chipmaker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
The Netherlands technology company bought 1.9bn shares in TSMC from Philips Electronics Industries (Taiwan) via the Taipei market in after-hours trading on Wednesday. Philips, one of TSMC’s founding shareholders, has been gradually selling down its stake in the foundry company.
The gradual divestment has already lowered the Dutch group’s holdings in the Taiwanese chipmaker to about 15 per cent from more than 20 per cent in 2003.
“The transaction will facilitate any future disposals by Philips. In the last offering of TSMC, Philips agreed to a lock-up until December 31 2006,” Philips said.
Other founding shareholders, including the Taiwanese government and Morris Chang, TSMC chairman, are also slowly reducing their stakes as part of efforts to diversify and internationalise the company’s shareholding structure.
Taiwan’s cabinet development fund founded TSMC in the 1970s with the help of Philips in an effort to develop the island’s semiconductor industry.
With TSMC having grown into the world’s largest contract chipmaker, this goal has long been met.
TSMC officials have said that the gradual divestment will not change TSMC’s working relationship with Philips. When Philips most recently sold TSMC shares in May this year, it agreed to keep its stake at the current 15 per cent until December 31 2006. No concrete divestment roadmap was in place beyond that deadline, TSMC officials said on Wednesday.