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Qimonda shuts down US fab, EU rules out bailout

Posted on Wednesday, February 04 2009 @ 21:04:09 CET by

Insolvent DRAM maker Qimonda announced it will close its 300mm Richmond fab in Sandston, Virginia:
Given the cost disadvantage of the mainstream chips manufactured in its 300-mm fab in Sandston, Virginia, Qimonda has decided to wind this fab down. The company's 200-mm fab at the same location is already in the process of being closed. A Qimonda spokesperson said there is not enough capital available for the company to upgrade that fab. "We make a loss with every chip we produce there," he said. The cost difference of 40 percent compared to Dresden's current Buried Wordline chips would render Sandston non-competitive. The move will affect 1500 workers in Sandston.
X-bit Labs notes the EU has ruled out a bailout of Qimonda, European Union Industry Commissioner Guenter Verheugen stated in an interview that nobody can save a company whose owner does not want to save it. Verheugen implied it makes little sense to save Qimonda as the company's owner, Infineon, didn't even provide help in time for the struggling DRAM maker.

Last week insolvency manager Michael Jaffé told the press Qimonda has two months to find an investor, otherwise the company will be broken up and sold. In the light of the current market condition turmoil, it's not likely Qimonda will find a savior.

The site also published a snip from an internal Qimonda memo:
“The company has made the decision to ramp down all production in Qimonda Richmond. Currently, we are completing wafer testing but do not expect to continue manufacturing beyond that. During the ramp down process, tools and equipment will be brought to a “safe” state and idled. This action will affect all employees at the facility. The shut down will be extremely fast. We expect about 500 people to leave the company today and tomorrow, and another 500 will leave over the next 30 days. Once we reach an idle state at the end of April, we expect to have only 50-60 people remain as a skeleton crew,” said Miriam Martinez, president and chief financial officer of Qimonda North America, in an internal memo published by Barron’s online.

Mr. Martinez added that Qimonda was not in position to pay compensations to employees and did not outline any plans to save jobs.



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