PARIS, France Intel Corp. intends to acquire Freescale Semiconductor's wireless operations in Toulouse, France, and to take over 53 out of the 236 employees that Freescale said it would lay off by the end of 2009, according to French press. In order to obtain confirmation, EE Times, contacted Michel Abitteboul, communication manager for Freescale Toulouse, who neither denied nor confirmed these speculations.
When contacted by EE Times to confirm press reports, Abitteboul first declared: "I cannot comment regarding any speculation about specific discussions or related activities. We are currently exploring all internal and external opportunities for employees."
Then he declared: "As soon as we made these announcements [to close its 150mm fab in Toulouse in 2011 and to end the cellular product activities by the end of 2009], we expressed our intention to find a job to each person who would be concerned by these measures. Can we say that we are positive? It seems that this strategy starts to bear fruits and to show results. We already have about 50 people taking part in trainings, about 30 people who ended their contracts to start a new job in another company and 16 people who have been relocated internally in another division in Toulouse."
Abitteboul reaffirmed that Freescale is committed to dialog and to support the employees in order to help them find alternative employment and that proper means are being implemented to reach this goal. He commented: "These include helping employees define their new professional path, supporting employees as they define their new career, training employees to help improve their skills toward a new job, [as well as] exploring the possible use of the Toulouse equipments and some of our skilled workforce in advanced technology development efforts."
Abitteboul continued: "In about two months, we have found solutions for about 100 people, on a total of 236. Can I be positive? There are still 236 jobs that are impacted so we should remain humble and continue to do the maximum to explore all possible paths. We work nights and days to find solutions for these people."
According to AFP and Le Figaro, Freescale Toulouse's works council were told on Sept. 22 that Intel was prepared to maintain 53 R&D jobs on the site.
In the Sept. 24 issue of Forward Concepts Inc.'s wireless/DSP newsletter, principal analyst Will Strauss referred to a French media report and stated: "We think the story has legs, since it's clear that Intel desperately wants to get back in to the cellular chip business, if for no other reason than to beef up 3G capability for its fast-growing netbook and MID chip business."
Freescale Toulouse Fab's 68,000-square-foot factory produces power management products for the automotive market and has manufacturing capabilities to the 0.65-micron technology node. Freescale Toulouse Fab started production in 1969.
At no point of the conversation was the word "Intel" pronounced. Note, however, that Abitteboul repeated twice: "If the situation evolves, I will call you again."