Renesas sells US wafer fab to Telefunken

Renesas Electronics Corporation, a major supplier in microcontrollers, has sold its US semiconductor wafer fabrication facility to German-based Telefunken Semiconductors for roughly $53 million.

The facility is located at Roseville, California and produces 200-millimetre, eight-inch chips, focusing on front-end production. It can produce 5,700 wafers a month.

Thinq_ spoke to Oliver Luettgen, manager of marketing communications at Renesas, about the deal. We asked what prompted Renesas to sell this facility and if it meant that the company was scaling back its business.

Luettgen said that, following a restructuring of the company last year it has been focusing on, "larger wafers, finer process nodes, and production concentration,” as well as upping capacity in other facilities. He said that after reviewing the Roseville facility, Renesas “determined it most suitable to sell the business, which includes the buildings, land and manufacturing equipment." He added that its capacity was relatively small compared to other Renesas factories.

Luettgen said the sale “does not mean that Renesas is scaling back on US operations”. He said the company is reorganising its global manufacturing structure and that it remains dedicated to its US customer base through Renesas Electronics America.

We asked what Renesas believes made the Roseville facility an appealing buy for Telefunken, to which we received the response that the, “experience, skill and commitment of the employees, the business relationship with Renesas, the potential for expansion, the location and the synergies between the current tool sets/clean room and [Telefunken's] products,” were all major factors at play.

The Roseville facility has 620 employees, 590 of which will join Telefunken. Asked if Renesas planned to rehire some of this number. Luettgen said: “No, all employees (except Japanese expatriates and those employees handling failure analysis) currently working for Renesas in Roseville will be employees of the entity owned by Telefunken once the deal closes.”

We queried where this leaves Renesas in the semiconductor industry and what remaining facilities it has. Leuttgen said that Renesas remains the “number one supplier of microcontrollers”, with operations covering research, development, design and manufacturing.

He said that the company has ten wafer production facilities and 12 back-end production factories in Japan, with five additional back-end production factories overseas. There is also a factory in Beijing for front-end and back-end production.