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Siemens looks to unload UK chip plant

Atmel wants Govt cash guarantee

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Siemens is in talks with US chip maker Atmel to offload its North Tyneside fab for around £35 million.

The US outfit plans to invest a further £700 million is also asking the UK Department of Trade for grant aid to develop the plant, which could create 1,500 jobs.

The factory - currently mothballed - is a bit of an embarrassment for the UK Government as it lies in the constituency of Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers. The plant was closed in 1998 with the loss of 1,100 jobs.

If the deal goes ahead, production of chips - pricipally for the wireless communications market - could start within a year, say sources. ®

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