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Technology Enables High-Density, Low-Power Semiconductor Devices

May 8, 2006

Photronics and Micron Technology joint venture to deliver processes that result in production-worthy photomasks that optimize wafer-fabrication yields.


BROOKFIELD, Conn. & BOISE, Idaho /BUSINESS WIRE/ --Photronics, Inc., and Micron Technology, Inc., announced the formation of a joint venture known as MP Mask Technology Center, LLC (MP Mask). The joint venture will develop and produce photomasks for leading-edge and advanced next-generation semiconductors and will begin supplying these photomasks immediately. Photomasks are high-precision quartz plates that contain microscopic images of electronic circuits. A key element in the manufacture of semiconductors and flat-panel displays, photomasks are used to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers and flat panel substrates during the fabrication of integrated circuits; a variety of flat panel displays; and to a lesser extent, other types of electrical and optical components.

As part of the formation of the joint venture, Photronics will be investing $135 million over a three-year period while Micron contributed its existing photomask technology center located at its Boise headquarters to MP Mask. Photronics owns 49.99% of the venture, and Micron owns 50.01%. In connection with the joint venture, Micron and Photronics have entered into a technology license agreement and certain supply agreements.

Complementing the investment each company is making in MP Mask, Micron and Photronics intend to build an independent state-of-the-art NanoFab in Boise, Idaho, that will be operated by Photronics for volume production of advanced technology photomasks. Photronics' investment in this facility is expected to fall within a range of $100 million to $150 million and will include new capital in addition to redeployed assets. The new facility is planned to fully leverage the technology developed inside MP Mask to create the industry's most advanced photomask supply and will manufacture products for the most advanced applications for Micron and other Photronics customers. This new facility is expected to be completed and to begin qualification by the end of 2007.

Michael J. Luttati, Chief Executive Officer of Photronics said, "The top priority for Photronics is to achieve profitable technology leadership while simultaneously enhancing customer service, increasing market share, and improving overall financial performance." He added, "MP Mask is providing Photronics with the ability to obtain and implement a competitive advantage to the industry at a time when technology partnerships represent a critical area of differentiation. Through close development collaboration with Micron, MP Mask will deliver processes that result in production-worthy photomasks that optimize wafer fabrication yields. All Photronics customers will benefit from more robust processes, resulting in profitable returns in the shortest possible time frame. By aligning our company's interests and capabilities with those of a technology-driven semiconductor manufacturer like Micron, we are accelerating photomask technology development cycles in a manner that is consistent with our profitable technology goals."

Mark Durcan, Chief Operating Officer of Micron Technology said, "The combined expertise of Micron and Photronics in the areas of advanced photomask technology development and fabrication will enable Micron to meet its reticle demands for increasingly high-density, low-power semiconductor devices." Durcan added, "As a leader in DRAM, CMOS image sensors and NAND flash memory, Micron is always seeking to engage the support of strategic suppliers that can provide reliable and cost-effective solutions."

A board of managers comprised of executives and technologists from Photronics and Micron will oversee the operations of MP Mask. Randal W. Chance will serve as general manager of MP Mask, and Durcan will serve as chairman of the board of managers. Activities at the MP Mask Technology Center will support the development work already under way at Photronics and Micron.

Photronics will present a more in-depth discussion of the MP Mask Technology Center, LLC on a conference call scheduled for 11:00 a.m. ET on Monday May 8, 2006. Michael J. Luttati, Chief Executive Officer of Photronics, will have some brief remarks and be available for questions. The call can be accessed live by dialing 212-676-5290 or by logging into a webcast of the call at www.photronics.com. A replay of the call will be webcast at www.photronics.com until the company reports fiscal fourth quarter earnings on Tuesday, December 5, 2006, after the markets close.

Photronics will be hosting its fiscal 2006 second quarter conference call with investors and the media on Wednesday, May 17, 2006, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. Photronics will issue its results for the fiscal 2006 second quarter after the markets close on Tuesday, May 16, 2006. The live call dial-in number is 212-676-5290. A webcast and replay of the call can be accessed by logging onto Photronics' web site at www.photronics.com, then clicking on the "Conference Calls" button in the top right corner of the home page. Michael J. Luttati, Chief Executive Officer of Photronics, will have some brief remarks and be available for questions. The call will be archived at www.photronics.com for instant replay access until the company reports its fiscal third quarter results after the market closes on Tuesday, August 15, 2006.

Photronics is a leading worldwide manufacturer of photomasks. Photomasks are high precision quartz plates that contain microscopic images of electronic circuits. A key element in the manufacture of semiconductors and flat panel displays, photomasks are used to transfer circuit patterns onto semiconductor wafers and flat panel substrates during the fabrication of integrated circuits, a variety of flat panel displays and, to a lesser extent, other types of electrical and optical components. They are produced in accordance with product designs provided by customers at strategically located manufacturing facilities in Asia, Europe, and North America. Additional information on the company can be accessed at www.photronics.com.

Micron Technology, Inc., is one of the world's leading providers of advanced semiconductor solutions. Through its worldwide operations, Micron manufactures and markets DRAMs, NAND Flash memory, CMOS image sensors, other semiconductor components, and memory modules for use in leading-edge computing, consumer, networking, and mobile products. Micron's common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the MU symbol. To learn more about Micron Technology, Inc., visit www.micron.com.
 


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