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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fujitsu trying to shop main chip plant to Taiwanese firm

Kyodo, Jiji

Fujitsu Ltd. has entered talks to sell its main domestic semiconductor plant in Mie Prefecture to Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., sources said Friday.

The computer maker plans to concentrate management resources on the information and communications technology business while downsizing semiconductor operations that require high capital investment.

Fujitsu is asking TSMC, the world's major contract chipmaker, to take on around 1,360 employees at the plant in Kuwana. The factory makes image processing chips used in digital cameras and central processing units for supercomputers.

TSMC, however, appears reluctant to have a plant in Japan, where production costs are high, according to the sources.

The plant is known for the production of CPUs for the K supercomputer developed by Fujitsu and the Riken government-backed research institute.

Fujitsu hopes the sale of the plant will help it push forward talks with Renesas Electronics Corp. and Panasonic Corp. on integrating their large-scale integrated circuit businesses.

On the talks with TSMC, a Fujitsu official said that "nothing has been decided yet."

Meanwhile, Fujitsu Semiconductor Ltd., the operator of the Mie plant, is scheduled to sell its plant in Iwate Prefecture to Denso Corp., a Toyota Motor Corp. affiliate, this fall.

Renesas is also considering selling its system LSI plant in Tsuruoka, Yamagata Prefecture, to TSMC. But their negotiations have hit a snag.

Fujitsu and Renesas are aiming to turn around their loss-making system LSI divisions by pulling the plug on costly production operations and joining hands with Panasonic in integrating their development and designing operations. Panasonic's system LSI division is also in the red.

The three companies are planning to accelerate negotiations in August on unifying their system LSI development and design operations, the sources said.

They are considering outsourcing system LSI production to TSMC and others, the sources said.

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The Japan Times

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