PARIS Ė The Toulouse-based branch of Freescale Semiconductor Inc. (Austin, Texas) has permanently closed its doors this week, affecting some 500 employees.
Freescale said it will transfer manufacturing lines back to the United States and will only maintain R&D activities in Toulouse.
Actually, the fab closure is no surprise.
Back in 2009, as part of its transformation efforts, Freescale had announced its intention to close its 150-mm fab in Toulouse, comprising 821 employees, by the end of 2011, and to cease the Cellular Product activity by the end of 2009, numbering 236 employees.
Postponed several times, the fab closure had been fixed to Aug. 10.
To close a chapter, Denis Blanc, director of Freescale Toulouse, wrote in an e-mail, dated July 31, "I wish to thank all the manufacturing staff whose manufacturing mission ends today." Since then, employees had the permission to stay at home.
In total, 397 letters of dismissal are expected to be sent today (Aug. 10) by certified mail to dedicated employees. About a hundred employees will leave after they have dismantled the fab, according to AFP.
Freescale confirmed it will maintain its R&D unit in Toulouse, which employs about 500 people.
Freescale Toulouse Fab's 68,000-square-foot factory produced power management products for the automotive market and had manufacturing capabilities to the 0.65 micron technology node. Freescale Toulouse Fab started production in 1969.