Siemens 'not' playing waiting game on fab

Siemens ‘not’ playing waiting game on fab
Siemens denies turning down offers for Tyneside; Government has cash aid for buyers. David Manners Siemens denies that it is turning down offers for its Tyneside wafer fab because it is waiting for an upturn in the chip market, while the government says it will give a “substantial” proportion of the North’s regional aid budget, worth ?20m a year, to help potential buyers. Reports from the fab indicate that only nine production tools out of a total of 924 have been shipped out or sold, suggesting that Siemens has not been aggressively pursuing its decommissioning programme, and giving rise to reports that Siemens is waiting to bring the fab onstream to take advantage of a market upturn and so is turning down purchase offers. Siemens denies that. “After three months the plan is to have taken out 30 per cent of the equipment”, a Siemens spokesperson told Electronics Weekly. “We want it for both internal use in other Siemens fabs and we are increasingly trying to sell the equipment.” According to Harald Eggars, Siemens v-p of manufacturing: “The point of no return will be reached by the spring.” Secretary of State for Trade and Industry Stephen Byers said: “We were prepared to give a lot of financial support from this department to secure a successful management buy-out. At the end Siemens didn’t like what was on offer.” Siemens explained: “In all the negotiations we have had, Siemens would have remained operationally involved, involved with management, involved with marketing and sales and involved with licensing issues. This meant they were not workable solutions for us. We’ve had no offers of an outright sale.” The company added that some offers had involved Siemens retaining financial responsibility for sales from the fab while having no control over manufacturing. Eggars played down a suggestion that an upturn in the DRAM market might make Siemens reconsider Tyneside as a manufacturing centre. “Nowadays you get extra capacity by shrinks not by building new fabs,” said Eggars.

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