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Wed, Feb 11, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Spansion Japan files for protection, operations continue

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Spansion Inc, the unprofitable maker of memory chips for mobile phones, said its Japanese unit filed for bankruptcy protection as part of a reorganization.

Spansion Japan Ltd filed for protection under the Corporate Reorganization Law of Japan, the Sunnyvale, California-based parent said in a statement yesterday. Spansion plans to continue operations at the Japanese unit and doesn’t expect the filing to “materially” affect the global business, it said.

In the US, the parent firm is in talks with a committee representing holders of US$625 million of debt due in 2013 about strategic transactions and restructuring the balance sheet, the statement said.

Spansion, which last month said it missed interest payments and was seeking a merger or sale, last week hired former KLA-Tencor Corp manager John Kispert as chief executive officer. The company, which hasn’t reported a profit since its spinoff from Advanced Micro Devices Inc in 2005, is under pressure from lower prices caused by an oversupply of chips and slowing demand.

Spansion is the world’s largest producer of NOR flash, once the most common type of memory chip used in mobile phones before handset makers turned to cheaper NAND flash chips manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co and Toshiba Corp instead. NOR chips will probably continue losing market share to NAND chips for the foreseeable future, Spansion said in a statement in November.

The Japanese unit had liabilities of ¥74.1 billion (US$810 million) as of the end of last month, Spansion Japan spokesman Koichi Wakamatsu said by telephone yesterday, declining to give further details.

Spansion Japan will post a statement on its Web site “shortly” and is scheduled for a hearing at the country’s Ministry of Finance next Friday, Wakamatsu said.

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