South American wafer fab Six Semiconductores of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, has been selected by the Commercial Court of Paris to buy the assets of the bankrupt LFoundry Rousset wafer fab site.
The only bid that would have kept manufacturing alive at Rousset, from General Vision Inc. of Petaluma, Calif., failed to convince the judge that it was sustainable, according to reports of a decision handed down on Friday, June 13.
The result is that Six Semiconductores, which was itself recently bailed out by Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentinian billionaire, is set to acquire chipmaking equipment that is on the Rousset site and intellectual property such as the LF150 CMOS manufacturing process. Six Semiconductors may take over the site as soon as June 20, the reports said.
Six Semiconductores is expected to move the equipment to Brazil and may seek training from former LFoundry Rousset workers, now unemployed, in how to use the equipment, reports said. The Six Semiconductores bid was worth €18 million (about $24.5 million), considerably more than the General Vision bid of €9.5 million (about $13 million) which was projected to save 220 out of 613 jobs lost when LFoundry Rousset was declared bankrupt on December 26, 2013.
The Six Semiconductores wafer fab is being built in Ribeirao das Neves, in the metropolitan area of Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais state. Back in 2012 the Six Semiconductores project was expected to cost about 1 billion reals (about $500 million) and have been operational in 2014. Support from Eurnekian's Corparacion Americas is expected to get the plant up and running in 2015.
However, acceptance of the Six Semiconductores offer will mean the end of chip manufacturing at the Rousset site. There is a projected cost of €24 million to decontaminate the site and the social cost of paying unemployment benefits to many of the workforce. General Vision had offered to maintain some legacy foundry operation and bring up neuromorphic computing project at the site.