Brazil wins in LFoundry Rousset sell-off

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By eeNews Europe

The only bid that would have kept manufacturing alive at Rousset, from General Vision Inc. (Petaluma, Calif.), failed to convince the judge that it was sustainable, according to reports of a decision handed down on Friday 13 of June.

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 takeover 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 and 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.

Some former employees have said they wish to appeal the decision of the Paris court in the hope that an industrial solution can be found to the situation in Rousset.

Meanwhile the decision to close the Rousset site will push more emphasis on to a class action lawsuit filed in Federal Court in New York alleging that Atmel Corp. (San Jose, Calif.) conspired to sell the wafer fab fraudulently to LFoundry GmbH (Landshut, Germany) so that the plant could be closed and Atmel could avoid the cost of closing the fab, including making redundancy payments to workers. About 500 former employees of LFoundry are taking part in the class action, which has it first hearing on Thursday, June 19.

Related links and articles:

Rousset fab’s future hangs in the balance

Opinion: Europe must back the Rousset Phoenix

Plan to re-open Rousset fab requires investors

Conspiracy alleged over Rousset wafer fab closure

Opinion: Rousset and once upon a time

Rousset closure unavoidable, says LFoundry


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