Durham, N.C. - Cree, Inc., widely known as an innovator in LED chip and LED lighting, announced that Wolfspeed is the new name for its Power and RF division. The business unit, with 28 years of wide bandgap semiconductor technology, will be spun out as a standalone company under the Wolfspeed name.
“Today, Wolfspeed is providing our customers and our team with a first look at our new company’s name, brand identity and purpose in advance of our IPO, which we plan to execute during fiscal year 2016,” said Frank Plastina, executive vice president, Wolfspeed, in a statement. “We’re building something new on the firm foundation that is Cree, and we want to share our vision, plans and enthusiasm with all of our stakeholders as we move seamlessly through the transition.”
Although Cree’s Power and RF business unit hasn’t generated a lot of attention partly due to the fact that it’s only six percent of Cree’s $1.68 billion in total revenue, it is the company’s most profitable by percentage. Here are the numbers:
- $118.2 million in revenue for the fiscal year that ended in June, up 20 percent from a year ago.
- Gross margins of 56.5 percent, versus 45.7 percent for its LED products and 27.9 percent for its lighting products.
- For Q1 2015, the subsidiary accounted for eight percent of Cree’s total revenue.
In terms of technology expertise, Cree can claim that it was the first to commercialize SiC MOSFETs and Schottky diodes. It also holds extensive patents for SiC and GaN technology.
The technologies and products will enable higher power density, higher switching frequencies and reduced system size and weight, said Cree, which will help customers design smaller systems and improve system performance while lowering system costs. Applications include transportation, industrial and electronics, energy, and communications markets.
Cree said it is “the only player in the industry with a fully commercialized, broad portfolio of the most field-tested SiC and GaN power and wireless technologies and products on the market.”
Cree further bolstered its position in market with the recent acquisition of APEI, a global manufacturer of power modules and power electronics, supporting its technology and products in SiC power modules. This gives Wolfspeed additional intellectual property and applications expertise at the systems level.
The companies had already collaborated on multiple government contracts. In 2014, the co-development of a High-Performance Silicon Carbide-based Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Battery Charger on an ARPA-E program resulted in an R&D 100 award, said Cree.
“Adding this expert team of innovators and portfolio of patents will enable us to further disrupt and expand the market,” Plastina stated. “Extending our research and development capabilities with APEI, a leader in wide bandgap power R&D, will help us accelerate delivery of a full spectrum of SiC power modules to meet customer requirements for performance and cost.”
Wolfspeed will leverage Cree’s brand, global footprint, scale and expertise.