LONDON Almost a year after announcing that it was looking to sell its wafer fab in East Kilbride, Scotland, as a going concern, Freescale Semiconductor has told staff that no buyer has come forward and that it is about to start a consultation process to consider options for the facility, including closure.
In a short statement, the company said: "Given that a sale appears unlikely, the company will now begin a formal consultation process with employees to consider further options for the facility and to seek their views on the future of the factory."
The plant, on a 25 acre site and features a 0.35-micron capable volume wafer manufacturing facility, including a 92,000-square-foot wafer fab cleanroom, and approximately 700 advanced process tools. The facility has been operational for over 20 years producing automotive chips, power devices for the networking and wireless communication industries.
Altogether, 1,000 are employed at the site, with approximately 750 directly involved in manufacturing.
Last July, Freescale said there were a number of options for the facility, with its preferred one a sale as an ongoing concern. The remaining options were continued operations and closure.
A spokeswoman at Freescale East Kilbride told EE Times Europe it was "prudent" to begin discussions with staff about these options, and that other possibilities could be presented by employees during the formal consultation process.
The statement issued Thursday (May 8th) stresses "it is not clear how long the consultation process with employees will take. Freescale is committed to considering all options during this process."
It added "technology advances in the semiconductor industry have resulted in a long-term trend of falling customer demand for the products currently produced at the plant."
The spokeswoman stressed the Business Groups currently operating in East Kilbride are not impacted by the fab strategic options review.
She also said the other Freescale site in Scotland, in Dunfermline, which was also put up for sale last summer, has received "considerable interest, and we are in negotiations about a sale, but the site has not yet been sold."
The site includes a 1-million-square-foot facility shell constructed in 1997 by Hyundai, now Hynix Semiconductor, but not fully completed and never occupied. Some facility infrastructure is on-site, but non-operational.
The spokeswoman would not comment on the timing of any deal to dispose of the Dunfermline site.
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