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Microbubble Venture for Cleaning Wafers to Wardrobes Plans IPO

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Opt Creation Inc., a Japanese venture developing technology that could lead to less waste in chip manufacturing and detergent-free washing machines, plans an initial public offering on the Nasdaq Composite Index.

The Yokohama, Japan-based company is developing a process that uses water infused with gas bubbles to clean semiconductor wafers, Chief Executive Officer Junichi Iida said in an interview last week. The process may cut costs and reduce the use of sulfuric acid used for cleansing.

Opt Creation aims to raise as much as 10 billion yen ($100 million) by selling American depositary receipts by March 2015, according to Iida. The company has started talks with a bank and law firm to prepare for the listing, he said, declining to identify them.

“We have chosen Nasdaq because the U.S. is the leading nation for developers in the area of new technologies, including microbubble,” Iida, 55, said in Yokohama last week. “We want to be the world’s No. 1 developer in this area.”

Ubic Inc. is the latest Japanese company to list American depository receipts on the Nasdaq, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The ADRs, which began trading in May, have fallen 21 percent this year, compared with a 19 percent gain for the Nasdaq Composite Index.

Opt Creation is also studying how its technology might be used to clean clothes in a detergent-less washing machine, according to Iida. Opt Creation’s process enables ozone gas-containing microbubbles to sterilize for seven months, compared with other existing processes where the gas dissipates within a few minutes, he said.

20-Micrometers

The bubbles are about 20-micrometers in diameter, or several times thinner than a human hair.

“The existing water for semiconductor wafer cleaning usually contains sulfuric acid and hydrogen peroxide,” said Masamichi Kobayashi, a spokesman for the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan. Opt Creation’s technology would cut manufacturing costs, he said.

Opt Creation’s microbubble technology may also be used in the medical industry, according to Iida. The company’s study shows the process is able to kill coliform bacterias and treat some types of periodontal disease, he said.

Opt Creation estimates revenue will more than double to 1.2 billion yen in the 12 months ending March 2014, from 500 million yen a year earlier, Iida said. The company wants to boost annual sales to 10 billion yen in the next five years, he said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shigeru Sato in Tokyo at ssato10@bloomberg.net; Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net; Takashi Amano in Tokyo at tamano6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Philip Lagerkranser at lagerkranser@bloomberg.net; Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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