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Chip giant ducks mass redundancies claims

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Down-on-its-luck semiconductor biz Renesas Electronics announced today the first step of a rumoured restructuring plan that's believed to include 12,000 job cuts.

Reports over the weekend suggested that Renesas could axe employees and look for a helping hand of up to ¥100bn ($1.3bn, £803m). The Japanese microcontroller maker is expected to turn to main stockholders including Hitachi, Mitsubishi and NEC to fill the coffers, as well as private equity firms.

Renesas refused to confirm or deny the cuts and financing round, but did announce a new deal with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company: TSMC will now make 40nm process microchips, as well as 90nm ones, for Renesas.

"There were media reports regarding personnel reduction, which were published in certain media," a spokesman stated. "The reports were not based on Renesas' announcement and they cannot be confirmed or regarded as fact at this time."

Japanese chipmakers are having a rough time trying to compete with their Asian rivals. Elpida Memory has already bitten the dust and filed for bankruptcy in February this year.

US company Micron Technologies is now in talks to pick over Elpida's remains, but other memory-makers pulled out of the bidding, leaving the possibility of a white knight to rescue Renesas more uncertain.

Shares in Renesas, which is the world's fifth largest chip biz and churns out ASICs to MOSFETs, fell nearly 11 per cent on the Tokyo Stock Exchange ahead of the TSMC announcement as the rumours freaked out investors. ®

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