Infineon plans to hire 1,700 workers at new factory.
13th September 2006

KUALA LUMPUR: Infineon Technologies AG, Europe’s second-largest maker of semiconductors, said it will hire as many as 1,700 workers at a new Malaysian factory as it seeks to expand in automotive and industrial chips.

The US$1bil plant in Kulim, Kedah, began production in August and had a maximum capacity of 100,000 eight-inch wafers a month, the company said in a statement yesterday at the official opening of the factory.

The investment by Infineon, based in Neubiberg, near Munich, brings the company closer to Asian customers such as Hitachi Ltd. The new plant producer chipsthat can be used in air-conditioning systems, transmissions control in cars and household appliances such as refrigerators, rice cookers and microwave ovens.

"Demand would be strong for household appliances," as most will need this chips, said Izhar Allaudin, an analyst at Avenue Securities. Under chief executive officer Wolfgang Ziebart, a former executive in the automotive industry, Infineon is moving away from businesses such as memory chips and focusing on areas including semiconductors for cars.

"This new fab is an important step in continuing our succesful business with chips for automotive and industrial power applications," Ziebart said in the statement.

The company said sales contribution from the Asian-Pasific region rose to about 32% in the third quater ended June 30, from 31% a year, while that from Europe slipped to 18% from 19%.

The Malaysian factory for automotive and industrial chips will add to similar plants Infineon runs in Germany and France. Infineon has three assembly and test production facilities in Malacca that were set up in 1973.

Infineon's customers in Asia include Gigabyte Technology Co, according to its annual report for the fiscal year ended Sept 30, 2005.