NEC junks UK, Malaysia PC plants

Outsources ops to Taiwanese firm

NEC is shutting down PC operations in Livingston, Scotland and in Malaysia and is outsourcing production to an unnamed Taiwanese supplier, the Nihon Keizai, a Japanese newspaper, reports.

The Taiwanese firm will handle the NEC contract from mainland China and is expected eventually to build 70 per cent of NEC's computers. Post-consolidation, NEC will have two PC plants left - in Japan and Angers, France.

The UK assembles 350,000 units - desktops, notebooks and servers - a year and Malaysia accounts for another 100,000 units. The number of jobs on the block is not yet known.

NEC employs 3,000 people worldwide through its NEC Computers International subsidiary, which handles the PC business for Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia (outside Japan and China). NEC lost $240m on PC operations in its last financial year, the Nihon Keizai says.

NEC is the world's fifth biggest PC manufacturer, and ranks sixth, sometimes fifth in Europe (and presumably will go up a notch after HP/Compaq sales stats are joined at the hip). The company has a patchy presence on the continent for its corporate NEC-branded lines - it's weak in the UK, stronger in France, for example. But it claims first spot in Europe in the consumer sector through its Packard Bell line. ®