February 20, 2020
Business Latest News | CMP Corridor | Bangor Metro | Wicked Munchies | Today's Paper

Fate of Maine semiconductor plant unclear after sale

Fairchild Semiconductor | BDN
Fairchild Semiconductor | BDN
An employee works in the fabricating facility at Fairchild Seminconductor in South Portland in 2009.

An Arizona-based company has purchased Fairchild Semiconductor for $2.4 billion. The merger is expected to provide millions in cost savings for ON Semiconductor, but the fate of the Fairchild’s South Portland facility is unclear.

This acquisition has been in the works since last November, but it has taken months for ON Semiconductor to get the necessary regulatory approvals. Last week, the company got final clearance.

In a conference call with investors Monday, ON semiconductor president Keith Jackson welcomed Fairchild employees.

“I am confident that the immense talent and dedication of our newest employees will accelerate our progress toward building a world-class power management company,” he said.

Jackson said the merger will create a strong leader in the semiconductor industry and will translate into overall cost savings for the company: $160 million in the first 18 months, and $225 million by the end of 2019.

“This is what’s been happening in the semiconductor industry for about the past two years or so,” Ian Ing, a semiconductor industry analyst from MKM Partners in Connecticut, said. “Instead of growing organically, growing their existing businesses and getting revenue and earnings growth, [companies are] finding that it’s easier or a better path to acquire other companies and get some of the scale and synergies that way.”

It’s unclear how the acquisition will affect Fairchild’s manufacturing facility in South Portland. According to the Maine Department of Labor, Fairchild is the 24th largest employer in Cumberland County, with between 501 and 1,000 employees.

But Ing said given that the projected cost savings are more on the operations side — $120 million, compared with $30 million for the manufacturing side — it may be a good sign for the South Portland facility.

“It’s more on the head-count side than the operating assets, so it’s possible they keep some of the manufacturing assets moving forward, I would say,” he said.

South Portland Assistant City Manager Joshua Reny said he’s also optimistic about the future of ON Semiconductor in Maine.

“We have no indication that anything is going to change, but we’re looking forward to meeting with the new company officials and current management staff and learning more,” he said.

Ing said the two semiconductor companies complement each other. ON offers products to a broad range of markets, from automotive to industrial to communications, while Fairchild’s focus is on power.

This article appears through a media partnership with Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

You may also like