2010 Media Coverage
Scottish Factory Gets Second Wind
Wall Street Journal
December 22nd, 2010
Read more »
Anthony Klan, 12/22/2010, Wall Street Journal
In March, demolition workers will begin tearing apart a one-million-square-foot memory-chip factory that, despite being built more than a dozen years ago and owned at different times by two of the world's biggest electronics manufacturers, has never produced a single item.
The once state-of-the-art semiconductor plant at Dunfermline, Scotland, about 20 miles northwest of Edinburgh, symbolizes the struggle the region has had in its attempts to attract high-tech manufacturers to its shores, and how hard its commercial-property sector has been hit by the global economic downturn.
The property is now embarking on a new life. It was purchased this month by Shepherd Offshore Services Ltd., a Newcastle development and logistics company owned by former Newcastle United soccer club Chairman Freddy Shepherd.
Shepherd officials didn't return calls seeking comment. But people familiar with the property said the company paid about £10 million ($15.5 million) for it.
After the demolition, the new owner likely will build a wind-turbine factory on the site, and develop and sell of some of the land for commercial, retail and residential uses, according to the Fife Council, a county governing body.
"Shepherd tells us the site will yield about 600 jobs eventually, but we are going to have to be much more conservative over this one," said Fife Councilor Tony Martin, "We have to realize this will take time; it isn't a quick fix."
The Dunfermline semiconductor plant is just one of a long list of high-tech failures in Scotland, as companies shelve plans, shut their doors or wind down in the face of far more favorable manufacturing conditions in emerging economies such as China and India.
In 2001, computer company Compaq Computer Corp. announced 700 job losses from its Erskine plant, with that work moved to a Taiwanese company operating in the Czech Republic. In 2005, Hewlett-Packard Co. announced plans to ax 85 jobs at a plant in Erskine, and in January 2007 electronics group Simclar shut plants at Irvine and Kilwinning, with a loss of about 420 jobs.
The 150-acre Dunfermline site, in the county of Fife near the burial place of Scottish king Robert the Bruce, has had a long history of unmet promises.
The Dunfermline site was first developed for industrial use by Korea's Hyundai Electronics Industries Co., which announced plans in 1996 to invest $1.4 billion to create a semiconductor plant that would employ 2,000 people. It was heralded as a panacea to unemployment problems in the region.
But in April 1998, amid the Asian financial crisis, Hyundai mothballed the project during its final stages of construction. The company said it would resume work once Korea emerged from the worst of the economic slump.
Instead, the plant was sold three years later to Motorola Inc., which planned to manufacture memory chips for mobile phones. But that never happened because of competition in Asia and the slump in the price of chips. When Motorola spun off its Freescale Semiconductor unit in 2004, the Dunfermline factory went with it.
Freescale, which was taken private in 2006 in a $17.6 billion leveraged buyout by a consortium led by Blackstone Group LP, put the property on the block in 2007. But then the global financial crisis hit, leaving the property on the market for three years without a buyer.
Freescale at one point was close to selling the site to California renewable-energy company Zoom Diversified Inc. But those talks collapsed.
Shepherd Offshore, the new owner, plans to demolish almost all of the never-used facility, according to Doug Barrett, principal with Advanced Technology Resource Group, the U.S. advisory firm that co-brokered the deal with Colliers International.
Iain Davidson, a Colliers director in Glasgow, said demand for industrial and commercial property in Scotland has fallen with the downturn, cutting values to about 40% below 2006 levels. "It's not going to be a bounce, it will be a slow recovery," he said.
Industrial parcels in Glasgow bigger than 100,000 square feet are now selling for about £125,000 an acre, down from £250,000 an acre in 2007, according to Colliers.
In the county of Fife, prime rents for industrial buildings of more than 100,000 square feet have more than halved from £4.50 a square foot in 2007 to £2 in 2010.
Freescale's Dunfermline fab finally sold
December 14th, 2010
Read more »
Mark Osborne, 12/14/2010, FABTECH
Though not sold to a another semiconductor firm, the 200mm shell fab in
Dunfermline, Scotland owned by Freescale and formerly Motorola has
finally been sold, according to ATREG and Colliers International.
Shepherd Offshore Services, headquartered in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
have acquired the facility for an undisclosed sum.
Built in 1997, the 93,000 sq. m. fab was never fully completed, and had
never been occupied. The factory was built by Hyundai in 1997 but near
bankruptcy saw it being sold for £800m in 2000 to Motorola.
“The sale of the Dunfermline fab is the only sizeable property
transaction to have occurred in Scotland since the end of Q4 2008,”
explains Doug Barrett, principal at ATREG. “The success of this project
is ultimately the result of a combined global, regional and local
marketing effort with Colliers International, as well as the dedication
and determination of all the teams involved.
Freescale Scottish technology campus finally sold
December 13th, 2010
Read more »
Colin Holland, 12/13/2010, EE Times
Freescale Semiconductor’s advanced technology campus
located at the Halbeath Interchange in the manufacturing area of
Dunfermline in Fife, Scotland has been sold to Shepherd Offshore
Services Ltd. (Newcastle upon Tyne, UK).
Built in 1997, the
93,000 sq. m. campus was not fully completed, and had never been
occupied and has been up for sale for three years. The sales was
facilitated by ATREG (Advanced Technology Resource Group), a
Seattle-based global advisory firm to the semiconductor and related
advanced technology verticals.
ATREG, in conjunction with global
commercial real estate firm Colliers International, worked with
Freescale Semiconductor to complete the sale.
"The sale of the
Dunfermline fab is the only sizeable property transaction to have
occurred in Scotland since the end of Q4 2008, said Doug Barrett,
principal at ATREG.
Configured for a semiconductor manufacturing
facility, the Dunfermline campus is suitable for solar cell, flat
panel, pharmaceutical / biotechnology, data centre, MEMS, and other
cleanroom and critical environment industries.
comprises a large cleanroom shell (70,000 sq. m.) designed for 200mm
wafer processing with potential to convert to 300mm wafer processing, an
easily configurable office area (6,100 sq. m.), a central utilities
building (8,200 sq. m.), and a water treatment plant (7,900 sq. m.)
ATREG spins off to ride semi market waves
Solid State Technology
September 21st, 2010
Read more »
by James Montgomery, news editor of Solid State Technology
September 21, 2010 - The semiconductor industry's legendary volatility keeps everyone on
their toes, from chip suppliers to investors. And it's the reason that a
company like ATREG came into being, has been profitable for much of the
past decade, and is now a spinoff from parent company Colliers to
spread its wings.
|Stephen Rothrock, President | Managing Principal, ATREG
ATREG got its start about 10-12 years ago under the umbrella of real estate firm Colliers; its first deal was selling a 200mm fab shell
for Matsushita. Taking into account the costs of decommissioning and
reinstalling equipment, etc., "we realized if they'd left the tools in
place, we could have doubled their money," recalls Stephen Rothrock, ATREG managing partner, in an interview with SST
That deal led to referrals to Fujitsu (which did result in an entire
site sale), NEC, Sony, and Komatsu, and from there IBM, Freescale, and
But in the past five years or so, the business has
involved much more complexity normally seen in broader M&A
negotiations, from IP to supply agreements. The ATREG unit has led
Colliers' businesses in growth and profits for several years, with sales
north of $3B -- but now fewer than 30% of its business real-estate
oriented, Rothrock said, and "priced as a commodity, as on the real
estate side, doesn't do it justice." The company, newly based in
Seattle, has roughly a dozen people currently involved with 10+
assignments, roughly mixed 70% dispositions (sellers) and 30%
Among ATREG's recent deals:
Qimonda's North American 300mm line, sold to TI (the shell was later
sold separately, to be used for a data center). ATREG also has been
helping seek a buyer for Qimonda's 300mm campus in Dresden.
- NXP's 150mm integrated passives device unit in Caen, France, sold to management-led startup IPDIA.
- Atmel's ASIC wafer manufacturing operation in Rousset, France, to Lfoundry, and its 200mm fab in Texas to Maxim.
Still on the block:
- IDT's fab in Hillsboro, OR. Rothrock calls this deal "close to a conclusion."
Sumco's 200,000 sq. ft site in Cincinnati, OH. "They thought it would
be an asset strip," Rothrock said, "but we brought them multiple buyers
they didn't think were there." This deal also is still open.
number of Freescale 150mm operations worldwide: two former sites in the
UK (now "final stages"), a fab in France, and a site in Japan. The
latter two are being sold as going concerns.
Other deals in
ATREG's past portfolio include projects for AMI, On Semi, LSI Logic, and
NXP. And the company was involved in the original deal to sell Altis,
the Infineon/IBM JV, to a Russia-connected group -- a deal that "fell
apart when Putin invaded Georgia," Rothrock noted.
environment where capacity is so tight, and foundry customers are being
put on allocation, "we're seeing a move back toward a desire to own [a
fab], to control their destiny," Rothrock said. That's a shift from the
traditional mindset of setting up a brand-new line, installing and
qualifying and calibrating equipment, and running the fab as a
A business like ATREG exists entirely due to
the volatility of the market -- up or down, Rothrock acknowledges.
"Cyclicality is part and parcel of our business," he said. "Right now
we're doing more acquisitions than in the past several years." The
company's sweetspot is in deals ranging from $10M up to ~$300M; below
that it's a wash of time/resources and payback, and deals bigger than
that are tricky too, typically more complex and longer to establish.
Most deals take a year or two to close, and Rothrock said it's ideal to
open talks two or three years ahead of that, to help understand and
guide decisions about tooling, inventory, finding extra value, etc.
Competition tends to be internal corporate M&A teams of the
divesting companies, who understand the complexities of their own
business and technology but may not have the broader picture of the
value of these assets to the market.
He also emphasized a desire
to balance the backoffice analysis with keeping the operation and assets
viable -- the manufacturing keeps humming to keep the technology
viable, and that helps keep the workplace intact and diminish millions
in liabilities, he explained. "With Qimonda, we didn't get there early
enough," he said. He emphasized a desire to help solve the problem of
seeing Europe and the US "stripped of this stuff, and going to Asia for
pennies on the dollar." And he suggested the TI deal to buy Qimonda's
300mm tools for its analog fab is a new trend, and suggested another
trend is in more of a consortium purchase of larger-scale manufacturing
sites, suggesting such a deal could be linked to Qimonda's as-yet-unsold
Rothrock projects a $300B market for such
transaction advisory services targeting "cleanroom technology
manufacturing," and wants ATREG to triple in size in the next 10 years.
Right now about 75% of its deals are in the semiconductor area, with 15%
in data centers (Colliers counts big names such as Microsoft, Cisco,
Amazon, AT&T, BT, etc.) and 10% in solar; 75%-80% are disposition
"advising the seller" and 20%-25% acquisition-oriented. Ultimately he'd
like to balance that out to about 50% business in semiconductors and the
rest split among solar, data centers, "potentially pharmaceuticals and
bio," and "alternative energy" e.g. large battery manufacturing.
Real estate firm spins off fab sale specialist
September 14th, 2010
Read more »
by Dylan McGrath 9/14/2010, EE Times
SAN FRANCISCO—Commercial real estate vendor Colliers International announced Tuesday (Sept. 14) that it has spun off its advanced technology manufacturing services division into a separate, independent advisory firm.
The group, Advanced Technology Resource Group (ATREG), has been involved in a number of transactions revolving around the sale of semiconductor wafer fabs and production equipment since its formation in the late 1990s.
As a standalone company, ATREG will continue to provide semiconductor and advanced technology manufacturing clients with services including selling entire businesses or business units, process and product IP, and strategic consulting, according to ATREG executives. Meanwhile, Colliers will operate as ATREG’s preferred real estate provider under the terms of a strategic agreement between the now separate firms, ATREG said.
According to Stephen Rothrock, ATREG's managing principal, the group was split out from Colliers, the world's third largest commercial real estate services firm, because the nature of its business involves a great deal more than real estate transactions. When ATREG is retained to sell a wafer fab, Rothrock said, its focus is not only the physical building but also the employees, tools, business processes, IP and products, he said.
"The real key thing is that what we focus more than anything on complex transactions," Rothrock said. "We have resided within primarily a real estate company, and yet the assets that we sell are maybe 20 percent real estate."
Over the years, ATREG has been involved in the sale of several fabs, including for clients Qimonda AG, Atmel Corp., IDT, Freescale Semiconductor and others. According to Rothrock, the group's primary competition is in the former of companies' internal merger and acquisition teams. About half of the transactions ATREG is involved in are confidential, he said.
An example of the often complex transactions ATREG has been involved in is the sale of Qimonda's fab in Sandston, Va., in 2009. Qimonda, which had filed for bankruptcy protection, sold the fab's entire 300-mm equipment set for $172.5 million to Texas Instruments Inc., which brought the equipment to install at the first 300-mm analog production fab in Richardson, Texas. ATREG later sold the fab shell on behalf of Qimonda to Richmond Semiconductor LLC, which turned it into a datacenter.
"We've become more and more about those types of deals than what we were when we started 12 years ago," Rothrock said.
ATREG will now operate out of its new headquarters in Seattle, led by Rothrock, who previously served as the ATREG division's senior vice president and executive director within Colliers. All ATREG division employees are transferring to the company’s new location, Rothrock said.
"This is a really good win-win for both ATREG and Colliers," Rothrock said. "Colliers will continue to service the real estate needs of the clients. We are incredibly grateful for the support they've given us over 12 years."
New startup rises from NXP's passives unit
May 13th, 2010
Read more »
by Mark LaPedus 5/13/2009, EE Times
SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A new company has been established that was once part of NXP BV's integrated passives device unit in Cote de Nacre, near Caen in Northwest France.
The new company, named Ipdia, has obtained a capital investment of more than 5 million euros ($6.8 million)from a consortium of investors, including NXP. Ipdia is also purchasing some of the assets from the Cote de Nacre fab. The initial staff will consist of 90 people, the majority of which will be recruited among NXP's laid-off employees.
Ipdia will focus on two main activities: the production of LED bases and integrated passive devices. Franck Murray, one of the founding directors, becomes CEO of the startup. He was most recently director of technology for NXP Semiconductors France.
Ipdia will be officially launched in June of this year. Its investors consist of the following entities: Prime Technology Ventures, Emertec Gestion, Masseran Gestion, NCI Gestion, CEA Investissement, the founding directors of the company and NXP.
In addition, Ipdia plans to enter into R&D partnerships with CEA-LETI and CNRS-LAAS to strengthen its technology.
Last year, NXP appointed ATREG, the semiconductor sales division of Colliers International, to sell its Integrated Passives Device business (IPD) and related operational 150-mm semiconductor manufacturing facility in Caen, in the French region of Normandy.
At that time, NXP (Eindhoven, the Netherlands), the chip company formed by a spin-off from Royal Philips Electronics, unveiled a major restructuring plan that is expected to cost about $800 million but it is hoped it will save $550 million annually.