6 - 12 June, 2001

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ST plays down remarks

By Kurt Sansone

ST Microelectronics has played down remarks made by Economic Services Minister Josef Bonnici about the transfer of a new production plant to Malta from Canada.

On Monday, Prof Bonnici was quoted as saying that ST was transferring to Malta its Nortel Networks’ silicon semiconductor production plant. The plant is currently in Ottawa, Canada.

The upbeat minister described this development as "very encouraging" and said that it will help ST (Malta) compensate for the present decline.

But contacted by The Business Times, an ST Microelectronics official said that the new development was not going to have any significant impact on jobs and investment. Furthermore, it will not make up for the current slow down being experienced by ST.

The official said that the production that was being transferred to Malta concerned ‘medium technology’ chips and would be carried out by 10 employees already employed with the company. The new production would be absorbed within the current workload.

"This is a normal process by which production of certain materials is transferred from one plant to another," the official said while admitting that the issue had been blown out of proportion.

Minister Bonnici made his comments during a dialogue meeting at the Nationalist Party club at St Julian’s on Sunday. During the meeting, Minister Bonnici was also quoted criticising Alfred Sant for not mentioning this ‘positive’ development whenever he spoke about ST.

ST Microelectronics, situated in Kirkop, is Malta’s foremost private employer and exporter in the manufacturing sector. The plant is currently suffering from a slow down because of an international lull in the semiconductor market.

The Business Times, Network House, Vjal ir-Rihan San Gwann SGN 07
Tel: (356) 382741-3, 382745-6 | Fax: (356) 385075 | e-mail: editorial@networkpublications.com.mt