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BNW, IBK PE continue to bet on Nepes Two PE firms invested in Nepes Laweh, following their investment in Nepes Ark last year

Translated by Ryu Ho-joung 공개 2020-03-24 08:00:27

이 기사는 2020년 03월 24일 08:00 더벨 유료페이지에 표출된 기사입니다.

BNW Investment and the PE unit of Industrial Bank of Korea (IBK) have bet again on Nepes Corp., a South Korean non-memory semiconductor company, following their investment in the company’s testing business unit last year.

BNW Investment, IBK’s PE arm and the PE unit of Korea Development Bank (KDB) have completed the transaction to buy new shares and convertible notes issued by Nepes Laweh, a subsidiary of Nepes Corp., sources familiar with the matter said on March 18. Each of three investors invested 40 billion won in Nepes Laweh in a deal that valued the entity at 280 billion won.

Nepes Corp. has continued to make efforts since last year to restructure its business and also partner with financial investors. Last July it split off its testing business division into a separate company, Nepes Ark. At the time, three financial investors – including BNW Investment and IBK PE – invested a combined 60 billion won in the newly created entity.

Back then, these investors learned that Nepes was also thinking of splitting off its packaging division and seeking an external investment. In February, Nepes split off its packaging division as planned to form a separate entity, Nepes Laweh, and partnered with BNW Investment and IBK PE again. Nepes is currently in construction of a new panel format fan-out plant in Chungbuk province, for which proceeds from the investment by BNW Investment and IBK PE will be used.

The deal is similar to the one that BNW Investment and IBK PE struck with EcoPro BM, a secondary battery material company spun off from its parent company EcoPro in May 2016. At the time, they invested a combined 60 billion won in EcoPro BM, which three years later listed its shares on the Kosdaq. This investment generated an internal rate of return of 90 percent.

Nepes Ark, which BNW Investment and IBK PE invested last year, is currently working on an IPO, with the flotation expected as early as late this year. Nepes Laweh is also expected to list within the next three years, which will be one of the exit options for its financial investors.

One of the biggest customers of Nepes is Samsung Electronics. The world's largest memory chipmaker has been aggressively investing in semiconductor packaging technologies since it was caught off guard by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), its competitor in the foundry market. TSMC has become the sole foundry partner of Apple for the iPhone processors after it succeeded in developing integrated fan-out wafer-level packaging technology.

Nepes is one of the top-tier advanced packaging service providers globally and also the only company in South Korea that has both fan-out wafer level packaging (FO-WLP) and fan-out panel level packaging (FO-PLP) technologies. That is why industry watchers think that Nepes Laweh has explosive growth potential. Nepes also considers Nepes Laweh as an outpost to expand its presence in the global advanced packaging market.

(By reporter Kim Hye-ran)
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