Fujitsu spinning off LSI biz, consolidating to Mie plant

Jan. 21, 2008 – Fujitsu says it will spin off its LSI business divisions into a new subsidiary at the start of the next fiscal year (March 2008), in a bid to focus on and spur growth in its ASSP and ASIC businesses. As part of the strategy, the company is shifting development and mass production prototyping of <e;90nm chip process technologies to its Mie plant in central Japan, where it says it will “strive to accelerate development” of 45nm and beyond work.

The new plan essentially means moving work out of the company’s Akiruno Technology Center (ATC) in western Tokyo, formed in July 2000 to centralize the Fujitsu Group’s LSI development and design activities. ATC is home to Fujitsu’s advanced LSI technologies and LSI development and design divisions, and started development and prototyping on 200mm wafers in late 2001. Since then, the company has made ultralow-power and ultrahigh-end logic LSIs based on 90nm process technologies at ATC, and completed work on 90nm-65nm process technologies that are now being made with LSIs at the 300mm line in Mie. Fujitsu’s other work on >e;0.13-μm processes (150-200mm) is done at its plants in Mie, as well as Aizu-Wakamatsu and Iwe.

Shifting the work from ATC’s 200mm development lines to Mie’s 300mm lines “will accelerate development of process technologies for 45nm-generation and beyond and maintain mass production adaptability,” the company said in a statement. Equipment transfer is slated for March 2008; 45nm development is slated to be completed sometime in fiscal 1H08.

As for the future of ATC, Fujitsu says it will still be utilized as a facility of the parent umbrella Fujitsu Group. Estimated costs for the restructuring are ~¥10B (US ~$93.6M), with impact on near-term financial results as yet undetermined.

Calling its model a “new IDM model” (meaning design-development-manufacturing work both parent Fujitsu Group and external partners), Fujitsu aims to adhere to what it says is its “core competence” of advanced process technologies, IP, and ability to design system LSIs for “first-shot full operation” (i.e., first-try success from the initial prototype chip).

Fujitsu’s device solutions segment made up about 15.8% of total sales in fiscal 1H07 (April-September), amounting to ¥397.9B (US$3.46B), up about 5% from 1H06 — of that, specific sales attributed to LSI devices were up 9.2% to ¥257.9B ($2.41B). Operating income in F1H07 was down to ¥6.1B ($53M) for a 1.5% margin, though margins improved to 4.7% of sales in fiscal 2Q07 (¥8.77B/$82.1M).


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