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Asset strippers circle Qimonda

May 27, 2009 //

Qimonda's chances to continue its existence as an entity sunk to almost zero after the last remaining potential investor has dismissed its interest.

MUNICH, Germany — Qimonda's chances to continue its existence as an entity sunk to almost zero after the last remaining potential investor has dismissed its interest.

According to media releases here, the governor of the Chinese province Shangdong declared in a letter to Saxon Minister of Economy Thomas Jurk that state-owned Chinese company Inspur is not interested in a complete takeover of the insolvent DRAM manufacturer. The Shandong Sinochip Semicon Ltd, a member of the Inspur group, would however be interested in "continued contacts" and examine "different options for a cooperation".

The governor wrote in his letter that his province "is only at the beginning of its development towards a semiconductor industry". Indeed, the company does dispose of equity in the range of €94 million (about $131 million). In order to buy the Qimonda assets including buildings, equipment and IP and to restart the production, experts believe that an investment of at least about € 800 would be required.

According to sources, the Chinese company never was interested in a complete takeover of Qimonda as the sole investor. Instead, the group was considering taking a share of about 40 percent of the DRAM manufacturer.

The last deadline for Qimonda will end coming Sunday (May 31st). After this date, the insolvency process will be continued by selling the company in pieces. Currently, insolvency administrator Michael Jaffé still prefers a comprehensive solution for investors intending to take over the entire company including R&D and production manpower as well as IP and other assets.

Apparently, some investors are still in the offing waiting for the right moment to get the best pieces of the company. EE Times Europe has received hints that there is interest from parties that have not appeared yet in front of the public. Their interest probably is focused on the Qimonda's 'buried wordline' process technology and in the fab equipment. A source close to the company pointed out that besides the company's main fab in Dresden also its production line in the US, while being under chapter 11, is still intact.

For the bigger part of the Qimonda staff however, the end of the deadline will most likely translate in another round of layoffs. Currently the company employs a remainder of 480 persons who keep sales and production alive. The production line in Dresden is in standby mode since end of March.

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