Qimonda Sells Inotera Stake, Cuts 3,000 Jobs

German memory-chip maker is cutting 3,000 jobs and selling its stake in Inotera, a joint venture with Nanya Technology Corp., to Micron Technology Inc. for $400 million.

BERLIN (AP) -- German memory-chip maker Qimonda AG is cutting 3,000 jobs and selling its stake in Inotera -- a joint venture with Taiwan's Nanya Technology Corp. -- to Micron Technology Inc. for $400 million.

Qimonda, which is majority owned by Infineon Technologies AG, said the cash deal to sell its 35.6 percent stake in Inotera Memories Inc. is part of a wider restructuring and cost-cutting program. The company said it is trying to become "leaner and more focused" because of a severe downturn in the memory chip industry.

Prices of flash memory chips have fallen this year because of an oversupply in the market.

Qimonda is not the first to be hit by such pricing pressures -- last week, Micron itself said it would cut about 15 percent of its work force. Micron said flash-memory oversupply had driven the selling price for chips below manufacturing costs.

Qimonda expects to record a one-time loss of about 300 million euros ($403 million) on its investment in Inotera.

"The sale of our stake in Inotera is a key step in Qimonda's restructuring, helping to give us a cash influx and sharpening our focus," Chief Executive Kin Wah Loh said in a statement. "We plan to concentrate our efforts on selected market segments where we can best leverage our innovative technologies," he added, saying, "we will rationalize our manufacturing footprint and streamline our operational and personnel structures."

Qimonda plans to wind down manufacturing at a facility in Richmond, Va., by January -- completing its exit from production of the silicon wafers from which chips are made. A manufacturing operation in Dresden, Germany, will be shut down by the end of next March.

The company also said it will reduce research, development and administrative expenses and staff -- mainly in Munich, Dresden and Raleigh, N.C. -- in moves that will affect some 3,000 employees.

The company said the plans call for some 1,500 job cuts in Germany and 1,500 in the United States. Qimonda said it had a total of 12,200 employees as of September.

Qimonda expects to take restructuring charges of some 50 million euros ($67 million) in the next quarter, and sees the program resulting in annual cost savings of about 450 million euros ($604 million) once implemented.

Also on Monday, Qimonda said its chief financial officer, Michael Majerus, is stepping down and will be replaced by Chief Operating Officer Thomas Seifert on an interim basis.

Qimonda said Majerus' resignation "comes at his own wish for personal reasons."

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