Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.

Panasonic and Fujitsu Form Fabless Chip Company.

Fujitsu and Panasonic  are combining their semiconductor businesses as from Q3 with Fujitsu taking a 40% equity share and Panasonic taking 20%.

The other 40% share is taken by the Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) which will invest €140 million in the new combined company and provide a €70 million credit line.

The combined company will be fabless, it will have 3,000 employees and sales of about 1 billion.

Yasuo Nishiguchi, former president of Kyocera, will be the new company’s CEO.

Panasonic recently transferred its fabs into a jv with TowerJazz.

Fujitsu is talking to TSMC about turning its Mie Fab into a jv foundry.

Last year Fujitsu sold its microcontroller and analogue IC business to Spansion.

Nine years ago, the Japanese nearly succeeded with a plan to put together the manufacturing capacity of the industry in a project called Advanced Process Semiconductor Foundry Planning Company  led by an NEC guy called Hirokazu Hashimoto.

Hashimoto said at the time: “Japan has 11 IDMs but their fab capacity is not big and they can’t compete with TSMC which has 60,000 wpm fabs.

Hashimoto’s plan was to raise $1 billion for a 65nm 10k wpm  fab and then raise $5 billion for a 45nm 60k fabn.

The Japanese government  enthusiastically backed the plan but the companies couldn’t agree about which process flavours to put in the fab.

Tags: Development Bank of Japan, fujitsu, Fujitsu Form Fabless Chip Company, panasonic, tsmc

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