Uni-Chem To Take Over Hynix's U.S. Plant

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- A South Korean company will sign a formal contract with Hynix Semiconductor Inc. to buy a plant the memory chip maker closed in the United States, an official said Wednesday.

Uni-chem Co. will take over Hynix's memory chip plant and the accompanying land in Eugene, Oregon, for $45 million, Uni-chem Chairman Lee Ho-chan told The Associated Press before heading to the U.S. to sign the deal on Friday.

The sale price is below the $50 million the two sides signed in a memorandum of understanding in August and far below the $252 million Hynix spent to buy the land and build the factory shell a decade ago.

Uni-chem, which provides leather to South Korea's Hyundai Motor Co. and its affiliate Kia Motors Corp. as well as to luxury goods companies Burberry and Coach, has sought to jump into U.S. solar manufacturing.

Lee has said Uni-chem plans to use the mothballed facility to make solar cells as part of the company's new business.

Uni-chem acquired a 51 percent share of Spire Solar System, a subsidiary of solar power company Spire Corp., and set up Uni-chem Solar in the U.S. state of New Hampshire, according to Lee.

Hynix spokesman Park Hyun declined to confirm Lee's comments, saying negotiations were still under way.

Hynix said it stopped operating the Oregon plant in September 2008 due to lack of profitability.

South Korea is promoting the development of substitute energy sources, such as solar and wind power, and other technologies enhancing energy efficiency as part of its so-called low-carbon, green-growth policy.

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