Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.
The Heroes Of Renesas
The response of the Japanese to the March 11 2011 earthquake won the admiration of the world. No company was more admired than Renesas whose semiconductor manufacturing capacity was cut in half by the disaster.
By March 14th one Renesas quake-affected plant had re-opened; 11 days later two more re-opened and a further five plants were being prepared for a re-start.
The worst hit was the big Renesas fab at Naka. At the end of March Renesas said it had ‘no idea’ when it could get Naka running again. Then, in April, it said it expected to resume volume wafer production in July.
In fact the 8 inch line at Naka resumed volume production on June 1st, and the 300mm line resumed volume production on June 6th.
Naka product was in customers’ hands by the end of August, wafer starts were back to pre-earthquake levels at the end of July, and total output was at pre-earthquake levels by the end of October.
It was a remarkable achievement.
Now Renesas’ owners, Hitachi, Mitsubishi and NEC, are said to be contemplating selling a big stake in Renesas to New York private equity firm KKR.
KKR’s modus operandi, as seen from its stewardship of NXP, is to close plants, sack tens of thousands of people, run up huge debts and sell off business units.
KKR has no record of achieving growth at NXP. In six years as the owner of NXP, it has failed to grow revenues or profits.
It may be that Renesas has to trim its labour force, but it would be to the everlasting shame of Hitachi, Mitsubishi and NEC if Renesas’ heroes were sacked to make profits for foreigners
KKR sacked so many NXP people on such poor terms that the Dutch government applied to the EU authorities for funds to relieve their hardship. How will the Japanese government feel about using taxpayers’ money to relieve the hardship of Renesas workers who have been sacked to boost the profits of a New York private equity firm?
The Japanese banks are stuffed with money. There is no need for Hitachi, Mitsubishi and NEC to go outside Japan for capital.
If solutions are needed for Renesas’ problems then it is to be hoped that it will be a Japanese solution. Anything else would be a betrayal of Renesas’ heroic employees.Tags: admiration, dutch government, remarkable achievement, semiconductor manufacturing, volume production