LONDON Management teams from Plus Semi in Swindon, England, and the former X-Fab facility in Plymouth, England, have relaunched as Plessey Semiconductors. The company intends to launch its own range of analog and mixed-signal semiconductor products although it is offering foundry services initially.
Plus Semi was a trading division of JSFM Consulting Ltd. (Lincoln, England), which first acquired the former Plessey wafer fab in Swindon and then purchased the former Plessey fab in Roborough, Plymouth from X-Fab Silicon Foundries GmbH late in 2009.
Plessey Semiconductors was a U.K. pioneer for semiconductor manufacturing during the 1970s and 1980s. It was merged with the semiconductor interests of the U.K. General Electric Company to form GEC-Plessey Semiconductors before eventually being broken up and its plants sold off.
The semiconductor manufacturing facility in Roborough currently manufactures chips on 200-mm diameter wafers for external customers on 0.35-micron CMOS process technologies. Plessey is planning to transfer bipolar process technologies on both silicon and silicon-on-insulator substrates to Roborough facility. The transfer of these processes is scheduled for completion in 2010.
Both the CMOS and the bipolar process technologies will be used to support a set of existing foundry customers. However, Plessey Semiconductors aims to follow in its namesake's footsteps by developing and supporting a range of high performance analog and mixed-signal semiconductor products.
"The historical significance of what we are doing is not lost on the management and employees of our new business," said Michael LeGoff, managing director of Plessey Semiconductors Ltd., in a statement. "A large proportion of our employees started their careers in Plessey working in the various sites around the UK. We see this announcement as a return to our roots. This is a business model that addresses a market that we know very well designing and manufacturing a set of high technology semiconductor products that competes with any semiconductor company in the world."
Paul James, commercial director of Plessey, said: "Our positioning addresses the critical and immediate requirements we have identified in the market for our high performance analog technology and products. We have been receiving very positive responses from the market about our plans to support both our existing foundry customers and to engage new customers with exciting new product releases. The first of these product families is on schedule for release later in 2010."
The United Kingdom's South West Regional Development Agency will part-fund the project by providing nearly one million pounds Sterling (about $1.6 million) under the Grant for Business Investment scheme when the deal is completed.
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