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Siemens steps up attempt to sell fab

But the clock carries on with its relentless tick

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With the clock ticking down to its closure, Siemens has launched a global marketing campaign to try and convince one of its semi-conductor rivals to take over its loss-making Tyneside plant. The £1.2 billion plant is due to start winding down next month and will close on 31 January. If a buyer is not found, 1,200 jobs will go as well. Siemens has targeted rivals Motorola, Fujitsu and Samsung with glossy marketing brochures and a video claiming "the future's on the market" - but has yet to find a buyer for the plant, which received £44 million in aid from the UK government to set up. Siemens claims that the involvement of the UK government in trying to keep the plant open, makes it more likely that a buyer will step forward. Ross Forbes, Siemens communications manager, said that it had government support for plans to sell the plant as a going-concern. Trade secretary Peter Mandelson has set up a task-force with the company and local agencies to try and save the plant and jobs, but has also blamed Korean DRAM manufacturers for dumping memory. Two weeks ago, government minister Mandelson and Fatchett were delivering different messages about the closure.

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