Panasonic to sell chip plants in SE Asia to Singapore's UTAC

Panasonic to sell chip plants in SE Asia to Singapore's UTAC

TOKYO - Panasonic Corp plans to sell three chip-assembly plants in South-East Asia to Singapore's United Test and Assembly Center Ltd (UTAC), according to sources familiar with the matter, as part of Panasonic's global reorganisation.

The three plants to be sold to UTAC in Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia account for most of the 6,000 employees in Panasonic's overseas chip operations. The news was first reported in the Nikkei business daily.

Panasonic aims to conclude a deal by early February, but final details including price have yet to be agreed. The company was also considering what to do with two other chip-assembly plants in Shanghai and Suzhou, China, the sources added, saying that Panasonic might sell or could close those plants.

A Panasonic spokesman said only that the company was considering various options and that nothing had been decided.

The consumer electronics maker, which posted US$15bil (S$19bil) in net losses over the two financial years to last March, has been selling off or winding down unprofitable businesses and focusing on more promising lines targeting industrial customers, such as supplying batteries and components to carmakers.

Last month Panasonic announced a joint venture to be majority owned by Israeli chipmaker TowerJazz Semiconductor Ltd that will take over Panasonic's three chip-making plants in Japan. 

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