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Filtronic fixes sights on former Fujitsu fab

But will only buy UK plant if UK government helps foot the bill

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UK telecoms equipment company Filtronic announced today it will buy the Newton Aycliffe, County Durham semiconductor plant Fujitsu shut down last year -- but only if the government stumps up part of the cost. Filtronic refused to say how much it was paying for the plant -- Fujitsu wrote off $490.4 million to pay for its closure -- or how much money it wants from the British taxpayer. To make the appeal for funds more tempting to the Department of Trade and Industry, the government department which would contribute to the acquisition, Filtronic chairman David Rhodes said the purchase of the plant would lead to the creation of 500 jobs in the North-East over the next five years. The agreement to buy "is conditional upon Filtronic receiving financial assistance from the DTI on terms satisfactory to Filtronic," said the company. At the time of the plant's closure, then DTI Minister Peter Mandelson pledged a £100 million aid package for the region, which had already been hit by the closure of Siemens' UK chip plant. Filtronic produces equipment for cellphone base stations and handsets. ®

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