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Atmel restructuring continues in Nantes

Posted: 30 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Atmel job cut? France market? plan restructuring?

Shortly after it announced 180 job cut at its manufacturing site in Rousset, Atmel Corp. disclosed it will trim 30 jobs from its 250 staff in Nantes, France.

Late July, as Atmel reported its Q2 results, the San Jose-based chipmaker said it was "commencing a consultation procedure with the works councils in France in relation to potential redundancies in the operations in Rousset and Nantes, France."

About a hundred of employees from Atmel Nantes gathered Sept. 24 to discuss the group's restructuring plan and its consequences, according to French newspaper Ouest France.

"Three departments will to be closed," deplored Denis Oziol, secretary of the workers' council.

"Eventually, the goal is to refocus the site of Atmel Nantes solely on research and development activities," explained Michel Sarrazin, spokesman for Atmel's management. "This restructuring plan is imperative to guarantee the durability of the site. The electronic component market is undergoing difficulties."

Employees at Atmel Nantes said their situation remains vague, even regarding the compensatory measures. For the time being, Atmel's management has offered training courses of about 2,000 euros ($2,880) per person and the creation of an employment antenna, reported Ouest France.

Employee claims
Employees at Atmel Nantes are asking for a 23,000 euro bonus (a 26,000 euro bonus for executives) ($33,000 bonus, $37,000 for executives) when made redundant. They also claim the payment of a monthly salary per seniority year.

Oziol told Ouest France that this restructuring plan will undoubtedly call another one. "The management conceals the fact. There will be more restructurings in the end. For now, we need to get directly in touch with Atmel Corporate to move forward."

In October 2005, Atmel agreed to sell its Nantes fab, a 6-inch wafer fab with a production capacity of 2500 wafers per week, to XbyBus, a France-based component supplier.

Atmel then said it would maintain a significant presence in Nantes with the design of MCU products for the automotive and industrial markets along with its space-related activities.

"We are pleased to be able to reach an agreement that will preserve many jobs in France," declared George Perlegos, chairman and CEO of Atmel, at the time of the transaction. "Additionally, this is an important step in Atmel's plan to consolidate its manufacturing and reduce costs."

The Nantes facility employed 300 people.

Revenues for Q2 08 were $420.9 million, up 2.4 percent compared to $411.2 million for Q1 08 and a 4.1-percent increase compared to $404.2 million for the second quarter ended June 30, 2007.

Net loss for Q2 08 amounted to $4.9 million, or minus $0.01 per diluted share. This compares to net income of $6.8 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, for Q1 08 and net income of $0.7 million, or $0.00 per diluted share, for the year-ago quarter.

- Anne-Francoise Pele
EE Times Europe

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