The company disclosed the sale plan alongside the announcement of reduced net profit and revenue in its 4Q19 financial results.
The Oudenaarde facility is an automotive qualified facility which meets the IATF 16949: 2016 global industry standard for quality management. The company believes that the facility is an attractive semiconductor manufacturing asset for a number of reasons, including its highly skilled workforce with extensive experience managing a diverse array of technologies and its close proximity to the world’s leading automotive innovation and manufacturing hub. Currently, the 44.000 square meter facility supports the company’s low, medium and high voltage analog CMOS and BCD technologies.
Potential buyers could include automotive and industrial chip manufacturer Melexis Technologies NV (Tessenderlo, Belgium) or X-Fab Silicon Foundries SE (Erfurt, Germany), a maker of analog, mixed-signal and MEMS. In 2018 Melexis said it planned to spend €75 million (about $92 million) over the next five years to increase its manufacturing capabilities in Europe (see Melexis to grow manufacturing in Europe).
An alternative could be bid from a Chinese company. In 2016 leading Chinese foundry Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. acquired the wafer fab at Avezzano, Italy originally built by Texas Instruments. SMIC sold the Avezzano fab on to Jiangsu CAS-IGBT Technology Co. Ltd., a Chinese chip maker focused on power devices, for $113 million in 2019 (see SMIC sells Italian wafer fab to Jiangsu).