LONDON – Plessey Semiconductors Ltd., the company formed by the management teams from Plus Semi in Swindon, England, and the former X-Fab wafer fab in Plymouth, England, has begun a 30-day consultation over the jobs of more than a third of work force, according to local reports. About 70 workers are under the threat of redundancy.
"We have just started the consultation process and we need to follow due process and see what alternatives might be possible," the This is Plymouth website quoted Chris Bailey, Plessey financial director, as saying. It added that the need to cut costs was prompted by market conditions.
Plessey Semiconductors was formed in January 2010 as the recreation of a famous name in electronics and semiconductors together with the acquisition of the Plessey IP portfolio, patents, processes and its manufacturing site in Roborough near Plymouth. The company combined the share capital of X-Fab UK Ltd. with engineering competence from another former Plessey site, a design and technology center located in Swindon, England. The wafer fab in Roborough has both 6- and 8-inch wafer lines capable of running 0.35-micron CMOS process technologies. Plessey has transferred bipolar process technologies and is planning to add silicon-germanium and gallium-nitride processes.
The company is trying to transition from a foundry into an own-product business model based on high-performance analog and RF circuits.
The operation received a promise of support from the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA), which agreed to provide £1 million (about $1.5 million) over three years. It is not clear whether any of the money has been provided.
It would seem to buck the trend of out sourcing chip production, not that I would encourage unlimited fab-less chip companies. It does not make a lot of sense but then they could be positioning their fab technologies as a market differentiator and thus enabling long term market ownership for there devices. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. It is also a tough nut to swallow for those who lose their jobs.
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