WLCSP is the first foreign co-founded company to go public in China
Infinity Group announced today that portfolio company Wafer Level Chip Scale Package (WLCSP) has listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (Ticker: 603005.SH) and has raised US$118M with an IPO price of US$780M. The closing trading price today was RMB$27.59 per share, representing a more than US$1B market trading value. Founding investors of WLCSP include Infinity Group (Israel) and CVSC (China). Before today's IPO, the Israeli shareholders held 38% of WLCSP through various entities and partners. WLCSP is a wafer-level chip-scale packaging services company. It was established when, in 2005, Infinity bought semiconductor technology from Shellcase (today EIPAT) of Jerusalem and brought it to China. Infinity Group founder and managing partner Mr. Amir Gal-Or and Infinity Group managing director, finance, Mr. Ariel Poppel, are members of WLCSP's Board of Directors.
"We are honored to be the co-founders of a great company which is also a symbol of China-Israel cooperation. We are witnessing several important firsts today. WLCSP is the first company with foreign co-founders to have gone public in China. WLCSP is amongst the first fifty companies in a long while to be approved for listing on a Chinese stock exchange and the first IPO in the Chinese Year of the Horse. And, we are exceptionally proud that WLCSP is the first company based on Israeli technology to go public in China," said Mr. Gal-Or, who initiated and led the company.
Arnon Perlman, Consul-General of the Consulate General of Israel in Shanghai, said, "This is an historic moment for the Israel-China relationship. We are proud and looking forward to more R&D cooperation in Israel."
In 2004, Shellcase was heavily invested and losing money for its shareholders, which included major global conglomerates. The shareholders chose to close the company. Seeing an opportunity, Mr. Gal-Or and Infinity Group managing partner Mr. Avishai Silvershatz, with support from their partners Neurone Ventures and later Suzhou Industrial Park (today CSVC), stepped in to rescue Shellcase with a $19 million financing round.
Mr. Gal-Or, who is based in Beijing, continued, "Today's news is also significant from a financial and historical perspective. WLCSP's investor, the Infinity-CSVC fund, is the first ever limited partnership off shore fund fully endorsed by both the Chinese and Israeli governments. The certificate, which reads '00001', was signed with the support of the deputy prime minister of China at the time. Essentially, WLCSP was the fund's first investment. Today's exit is expected to produce an 8X return for what we call the '00001 fund'. We started with a company that was about to go under, invested in it, and guided and led it to global achievements. It is certainly the greatest turnaround story in Israeli fund history. We transformed what was thought to be a worthless entity into a golden asset."
The rescue also included a restructuring plan, a standard component of Infinity's business model in China. Manufacturing and marketing were moved to China and the Israeli company, renamed EIPAT, moved to profit by selling licenses for its technology and through the continuation of joint R&D programs.
Eight months following restructuring in 2006, Shellcase's (now EIPAT) IP was sold to Tessera Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:TSRA) for US$33 million, but it maintained a license for the China market. With only this license in hand, WLCSP was established in China in June 2005 with Mr. Wang Wei as company president. It took WLCSP only 12 months from establishment to realize profitability. In 2007, shares of WLCSP were sold to Omnivision (NASDAQ:OVTI) as part of a $22 million financing round for the company. Today, WLCSP is a global leader in Wafer Level Packaging. Infinity believes the company value will continue to significantly increase in the future.
Mr. Ami Dotan, co-founder and general partner of Neurone Ventures & CIVC, said, "Shellcase/WLCSP is a successful example of how cooperation between Israeli innovation (IP) and China's operational, managerial and execution abilities, led by a restructuring that assures alignment of interests, can lead to impressive success. CEO Wang Wei's continued product and process development combined with excellent managerial skills led to an amazing contribution to both the Chinese and Israeli economies. It also strengthened cooperation between the two countries. The Shellcase/ WLCSP case study is a model for financial 'Double Gain' for investors. The restructuring of the two companies enabled financial benefit from dual exits: initially from the Israeli entity, when Shellcase sold to Tessera, and later from the Chinese entity, through the current WLCSP IPO."
Mr. Ariel Poppel, managing director at Infinity said, "When we first opened the book of this story, we encountered a fledgling company almost in bankruptcy. Rather than buy it and move it into receivership, we co-invested and guided it through a troubled time. Today's news reaffirms the prudent choice to believe in the company and the combined know-how of its leadership in Israel and in China. We strongly believe in the company's future."
Today marks Infinity's second IPO news in China this year, the first being DCITS 000555.SZ