Compiled by Mark DeSorbo

Chip spinning

SCHAUMBURG, Ill.—Motorola will spin off its chip-manufacturing business as an independent company—a longtime wish of many of the company's investors.

While it racked up $4.8 billion in sales last year, the semiconductor unit didn't post an operating profit. Wall Street analysts have urged Motorola to sell the under-performing chip business and invest the cash in more lucrative parts of the company's operations.

Motorola's other businesses, including its cellular segment, totaled $22.5 billion in sales last year. The move was announced by outgoing Chief Executive Chris Galvin, who submitted his resignation last month after disagreement with the board of directors about the direction of the company.

In the past, Motorola has contracted out more portions of its semiconductor business as part of an “asset light” strategy. Galvin said an independent company would be able to acquire new assets that might help the business to grow. Motorola justified the timing of the spin-off by noting that the global semiconductor business appears headed for an upswing.

Fighting foodborne

BRUSSELS, Belgium—David Byrne, the European Union's Commissioner for Health and Consumer protection, has convinced Union farm ministers that tighter rules are needed to minimize foodborne diseases.

In Europe, as elsewhere, salmonella, campylobacter, listeria and E. coli have lead to numerous sick days, needless deaths and growing public health costs.The annual costs of salmonella, which sickens 160,000 people each year, is estimated to hit $3.3 billion.

The two laws, proposed by the Commission in August 2001 and backed by Parliament in May 2002, represent an overhaul of existing rules on diseases transmissible between animals and humans.

The first law is a directive on monitoring agents, aiming to improve knowledge of the sources and trends of these pathogens, to support microbiological risk assessments and to serve as a basis to adopt measures to manage risks. The European Food Safety Authority will play a key role in assessing this information. The second law is a regulation to reduce foodborne pathogen contamination at primary food production points.

Malaysia makeover

SINGAPORE—Sunningdale Precision Industries Ltd says it is setting up a manufacturing plant with ISO Class 4 cleanroom facilities at its subsidiary, SDP Manufacturing Sdn Bhd, in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

The plant will support the operations of Toa Electric Industrial Co. Ltd's customers in the manufacturing of decorative plastic parts and components for the global telecommunications industry. Sunningdale said the allocated capital expenditure for the plant is about $1.7 million. The facility is expected to begin production in December.

Fostered foundry

RIMINI, Italy— Multiplex Inc., a South Plainfield, N.J.-based manufacturer of optoelectronic components and integrated subsystems, is now offering custom compound semiconductor foundry services.

From a newly completed 10,000-square-foot facility, housing ISO Class 6 and ISO Class 7 cleanrooms, Multiplex is offering front-end capabilities for III-V semiconductor expitaxial growth, processing device design, testing, reliability qualification and failure mode analyses.

The company maintains a MOCVD epitaxy platform that includes Aixtron 2400 and 2000 multi-wafer reactors, and all GaAs- and InP-based material systems are supported.


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