Tezzaron takes over SVTC’s Austin fab amid layoff reports

October 1, 2012 - Tezzaron Semiconductor is taking over SVTC Technologies’ wafer fab in Austin, TX, amid reports that the semiconductor/MEMS development organization is cutting back activities in Austin and in California — and perhaps shutting its doors entirely.

In a statement, the Naperville, IL-based 3D IC technology firm acknowledges that days ago SVTC "announced to customers and employees that the [Austin] plant would be closed and liquidated by month’s end." This confirms local reports that SVTC had filed notice with the State of Texas about imminent and permanent layoffs of more than a hundred workers at the former SEMATECH ATDF facility. One report further suggested that SVTC might consolidate its operations in Austin.

More bad news for SVTC may be afoot. Last week local reports surfaced that the group has filed similar notification to authorities in California. That report includes a copy of the actual filing with the Economic Development Department, which lists another 106 layoffs — among them the positions of CEO and CFO, and dozens of directors and managers.

Tezzaron processes some of its wafers at the SVTC Austin fab, and intends to expand the fab’s capabilities to support some of its specialized 3D steps that are currently done elsewhere, a Tezzaron official told SST. While the firm says it will continue to support all other processes and services currently offered at the site, its "main strategy is not changing; our focus is still 3D," the official explained. "This acquisition allows us to consolidate much of our processing in one US location while continuing the fab’s current business model."

SVTC Technologies — née Cypress Semiconductor’s Silicon Valley Technology Center — was spun off in early 2007 with VC/private equity backing, and later that year combined with SEMATECH’s ATDF in Austin, TX.

"This is the only facility of its kind on the continent. It supports product innovations for semiconductors, life sciences, clean energy, aerospace, and defense," stated J.T. Ayers, Tezzaron’s CEO. "When we became aware it might be shut down, we knew we had to work quickly to retain this highly valuable group of people and capabilities."

No terms of the Austin deal were offered, though Tezzaron says it should close within two weeks, during which time the fab will continue normal operations. The Austin fab will become a subsidiary of Tezzaron and be led by David Anderson, SVTC VP and former SEMATECH/ATDF director.

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