Scotland’s Silicon Glen suffered mixed fortunes this week with the loss of 240 jobs, and the possible opening of a chip plant.
Mitsubishi announced that it is to close its Livingston video recorder plant in West Lothian by the end of this year. The company said the closure had been forced by overcapacity in the European VCR markets, resulting in a slump in prices.
Livingston, the third Mitsubishi plant in the area to shut over the past year, has been making a loss for some time, said Alan Gemmell, general manager of Mitsubishi Electric UK.
Fifty of the factory’s 290 workers will be relocated to the firm’s air-conditioning plant, also in Livingston. This site, with 370 jobs, will continue to be a major local employer, said Mitsubishi.
Meanwhile, there was renewed hope for the mothballed LG Semicon memory-chip making plant in Dunfermline, following LG’s £1.3bn takeover by Hyundai. The deal was part of a Korean government-led restructuring to reduce overcapacity. Hyundai plans to sell its non-memory semiconductor operations and focus the new company on memory production alone.
Bill Taylor, corporate manager of environmental and development strategy at Fife Council, said the news could lead to completion of the Dunfermline plant. Work was halted by the Asian economic crisis and the slump in memory-chip prices.
`It has always been a positive sign that Hyundai has regarded the semiconductor industry as core to its business,’ he said. We remain optimistic that the project will be completed.’
More than £2.5m has already been invested in the Dunfermline plant, which was expected to create 2,000 jobs. But there were fears that a proposed Welsh plant creating 1,700 jobs would be abandoned if the Scottish site went ahead.