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NORTH TYNESIDE, UK-Atmel Corp. is shedding its fully operational 200mm semiconductor plant here as it continues to shift to a “fab-lite” manufacturing model. The publicly held company from San Jose, CA has hired the Seattle-based Advanced Technology Real Estate Group of Colliers International to liquidate the asset.

Located adjacent to the A19 trunk road approximately eight miles from the City of Newcastle, the 750,000-sf facility has approximately 54,000 sf of cleanroom and approximately 270 semiconductor manufacturing toolsets. Atmel acquired the 59-acre property from Siemens in September 2000 and has since spent approximately $869 million (450 million pounds) setting up and maintaining the operation.

As part of its plan to shift to a substantially third-party manufacturing model and shed unprofitable products, Atmel said in December that it would seek to sell its wafer fabrication facilities in North Tyneside and Heilbronn, Germany and lay off more than 30% of its work force. The campus, which can be expanded, contains a significant amount of office and support space as well as separate, secure and self-contained power and water. No asking price has been announced. A Colliers ATREG executive did not return phone calls seeking comment.

If acquired as fully operational facility, the North Tyneside plant would be worth much more because the value of the toolsets would be factored into the equation. If Atmel cannot find a semiconductor manufacturer interested in a fully operational facility, the value of the facility quickly falls to the value of the buildings, which would be discounted because they would have to be repurposed for another use.

For example, in July 2006, after 2.5 years on the market, ATREG sold for Sumitomo Mitsubishi Silicon Group its two dormant wafer manufacturing campuses in Salem, OR that totaled 600,000 sf of facilities on 55 acres. The original construction cost of the campus was approximately $120 million. The sale price was $13.32 million or $22 per sf. The new owner plans to convert the buildings for office and distribution uses. Had the property been acquired operational by a semiconductor manufacturer, the value would have been closed to $40 million, industry experts tell GlobeSt.com.

In May 2006, ATREG sold a 500,000-sf, fully operational chip plant on 80 acres in Gresham, OR for $105 million. The plant cost $1 billion to create, with about $300 million spent on construction. The four-building campus includes a 242,000-sf wafer fabrication plant, a 125,000-sf office building, a 45,000-sf energy center and a 91,000-sf central processing facility. The buyer was LSI Logic Corp. or Milpitas, CA. The seller was ON Semiconductor Corp. of Phoenix.

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