Mitel puts faith in UK after Swedish closure

Mitel puts faith in UK after Swedish closure
Richard Wilson A UK wafer fab has been given a major boost. Mitel Semiconductor is transferring all CMOS production from a fab in Sweden to its Plymouth manufacturing plant. Mitel plans to close one of its two Swedish fabs – affecting 200 staff – and shift production of mixed-signal Asics to the Roborough semiconductor plant at Plymouth. It is an important endorsement for the plant which the Canadian company acquired when it bought GEC-Plessey Semiconductor a year ago. “Plymouth is our flagship fab going forward,” Mitel senior v-p for semiconductors, Francois Cordeau told Electronics Weekly. “It is the fab where future investment will be made for increases in capacity and for new technologies.” Currently, there is sufficient spare capacity at the Plymouth plant to take on the new product lines, which include mixed-signal Asics for medical applications such as hearing-aids, without further investment and expansion of the workforce. Cordeau predicted that there will be a small number of engineering jobs created at the plant in product engineering activities. Mitel is also planning to move some of the product lines to its Lincoln fab. “We felt that for some of the products Lincoln was more appropriate,” said Cordeau. This commitment to Lincoln follows last year’s strategic review of the future of the whole site. Cordeau demonstrated Roborough’s position as Mitel’s “flagship” wafer fab by confirming that when the company moves to 0.18?m CMOS process technology that investment will take place at Plymouth. “The UK will be our main location for investment going forward,” said Cordeau, who was not prepared to give a date when that investment would be made. This approval of Roborough, one of the UK’s best known semiconductor plants, comes at an important time for the UK’s semiconductor industry, which is emerging from its worst ever year characterised by the announced closure of the Fujitsu and Siemens DRAM plants. In a separate move, hopes have risen this week of Siemens finding a partner for its Tyneside fab.


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