March 1, 2002 – Tokyo, Japan – Komatsu Ltd. has finalized plans to pull out of silicon operations in the US by selling off Advanced Silicon Materials LLC (ASiMI), a wholly owned subsidiary making polycrystalline silicon, company sources said.
The planned sell-off of the plant in Washington state follows the cessation of silicon wafer manufacturing at Komatsu Silicon American Inc. (KSA) and will mark the Japanese company’s full withdrawal from silicon operations in the US, reported the Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
The company is trying to focus on its mainline business, shedding loss-making operations launched during a period of diversification.
ASiMI has two factories, with annual sales running to more than $100 million. But due to excess capacity and the current semiconductor business slump, the company has been experiencing losses.
Last October the parent company came up with plans to write down the value of the assets of ASiMI by 13 billion yen but continue its operations. Since last autumn, however, demand for silicon has cooled more than Komatsu had expected, offering little hope that the US unit could secure profit in the near term.
ASiMI had a work force of 570 as of the end of March 2001. It has not yet decided to whom the unit will be sold.
Komatsu has already taken a 26 billion yen charge to write down assets at KSA.
The parent will maintain the operations of Komatsu Electronic Metals Co., which produces silicon wafers in Japan and Taiwan.