Sigma-Aldrich to Form Joint Venture with Soulbrain; Strengthening Presence in the Korean Market for Chemical Precursors Serving the Electronic Materials Markets

ST. LOUIS, Dec. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SAFC Hitech Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation (NASDAQ: SIAL), a leading Life Science and High Technology company, has signed an agreement to create a 50/50 joint venture (JV) with Korean-based Soulbrain Co. Ltd. ("Soulbrain").  Soulbrain is a publicly traded (KOSDAQ: 036830) specialty chemical company serving the flat panel display, semiconductor and electronic materials market.  The joint venture, known as Soulbrain Sigma-Aldrich Ltd., is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be finalized early in the first quarter of 2013.

The newly formed JV will serve the Korean market and will focus on developing and commercializing advanced metal organic precursor technologies used in the semiconductor and LED markets.  Soulbrain will contribute certain electronic material product know-how, intellectual property (IP), and development personnel to the venture.  SAFC Hitech Ltd. will contribute related manufacturing and product know-how and IP for metal organic compounds used to manufacture semiconductors and will license its technology to the joint venture for products used to manufacture light emitting diodes (LED). The combination is expected to leverage the strong market position and customer intimacy of Soulbrain, and utilize SAFC Hitech's precursor technologies to better serve Korean customers. 

Soulbrain will be the exclusive distributor for products manufactured or otherwise acquired by the newly formed joint venture within the Korean market.  With limited exceptions, joint venture-developed products for export outside Korea will be distributed by SAFC Hitech Ltd. or its affiliates.

Soulbrain is a key supplier of specialty electronic materials to manufacturers of semiconductors and flat panel displays. The company has a strong reputation as a technology provider to the Korean electronic materials market, which accounts for more than one-third of the global semiconductor precursor demand. Soulbrain also brings existing customer relationships, research and development (R&D), direct sales, technical marketing, manufacturing and other supply chain components to the venture. SAFC Hitech brings its existing product portfolio and global technological expertise.

Commenting on the arrangement, Sigma-Aldrich Corporation President and CEO Rakesh Sachdev stated, "We continue to grow our presence in the Asia Pacific region, where the majority of electronic products are manufactured today.  The creation of this joint venture enables us to extend our capabilities in the region and gain greater customer access through Soulbrain's established technical competencies, infrastructure and customer relationships. We are pleased to partner with Soulbrain to bring new advances to the semiconductor and LED markets."

Ji-Wan Chung, Soulbrain Chairman, commented, "Soulbrain's manufacturing capabilities combined with SAFC Hitech's precursor know-how and semiconductor electronic material product pipeline offer the growing Korean market more technologically robust solutions.  SAFC Hitech is a well-known specialty chemical manufacturer with a broad range of technical competencies and is an ideal partner to help better serve the needs of our customers in Korea."

Soulbrain is headquartered in Pangyo, Korea and employs approximately 870 employees in three manufacturing sites in Korea.

Cautionary Statement: The foregoing release contains forward-looking statements that can be identified by terminology such as "is expected to" or similar expressions, or by expressed or implied discussions regarding potential future revenues from products derived there from. You should not place undue reliance on these statements. Such forward-looking statements reflect the current views of management regarding future events, and involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. There can be no guarantee that this or any other joint venture will assist the Company to achieve any particular levels of revenue in the future. In particular, management's expectations regarding this joint venture could be affected by, among other things, the Company's ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection; competition in general; government, industry and general public pricing pressures; the impact that the foregoing factors could have on the values attributed to the Company's assets and liabilities as recorded in its consolidated balance sheet, and other risks and factors referred to in Sigma-Aldrich's current Form 10-K on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Sigma-Aldrich is providing the information in this press release as of this date and does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements contained in this press release as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Sigma-Aldrich:  Sigma-Aldrich is a leading Life Science and High Technology company whose biochemical, organic chemical products, kits and services are used in scientific research, including genomic and proteomic research, biotechnology, pharmaceutical development, the diagnosis of disease and as key components in pharmaceutical, diagnostics and high technology manufacturing. Sigma-Aldrich customers include more than 1.3 million scientists and technologists in life science companies, university and government institutions, hospitals and industry. The Company operates in 38 countries and has nearly 9,000 employees whose objective is to provide excellent service worldwide. Sigma-Aldrich is committed to accelerating customer success through innovation and leadership in Life Science and High Technology. For more information about Sigma-Aldrich, please visit its website at www.sigma-aldrich.com.

About SAFC®: SAFC is the custom manufacturing and services business unit of Sigma-Aldrich Corporation. It is recognized as a top 10 global fine chemical supplier and trusted manufacturer of specialty chemicals and biologics for the life science and high technology industries. Utilizing global "Centers of Excellence" and dedicated manufacturing facilities, SAFC can often resolve development and manufacturing challenges and accelerate the production of custom materials. Its rich portfolio includes high-purity inorganic materials for high technology applications, cell culture products, services for biopharmaceutical manufacturing and biochemical production, and complex, multi-step organic synthesis of APIs and key intermediates. For more information about SAFC, visit www.safcglobal.com.

About SAFC Hitech®: SAFC Hitech provides a unique chemistry service translating application understanding into performance materials worldwide. Through collaborative partnerships and an integrated approach from research and development, process development and scale up to commercial manufacturing, SAFC Hitech invests in innovation and manufacturing enabling current and future technology needs. Further information can be found at http://www.safchitech.com.

Sigma-Aldrich, SAFC and SAFC Hitech are registered trademarks of Sigma-Aldrich Co. LLC.

SOURCE Sigma-Aldrich Corporation



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