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December 1, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Siemens AG’s ailing semiconductor division may yet find a buyer for at least part of the loss-making memory plant in Tyneside, the UK. The German company announced in August the closure of the plant, which opened in May last year to produce 16bit DRAM factory chips and, more recently, 64bit DRAM chips. The German company is currently winding down the plant and stopped all wafer production there at the end of November, but is now in talks with a small number of potential buyers, a Siemens spokesperson said. The German company was guardedly optimistic about the possibility of saving the plant, which needs a buyer to step in very soon, before completion of the decommissioning process. Speculation about the future of the plant, which opened with a UK government grant, centers around the possibility of a Hong Kong company stepping in to take a 49% stake in the factory and turn it around to produce chips for use in Chinese mobile phones. Siemens would not comment on which companies it may partner with, and only said it plans to make no announcement this week. The Department of Trade and Industry merely confirmed that Siemens is in talks with potential partners.

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