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Aviza Looks To Sumitomo For Rescue

Aviza Technology is set to sell parts of its etch and deposition semiconductor manufacturing equipment business to Sumitomo Precision Products, as it seeks bankruptcy protection. The California-based company filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code on June 9 after signing a non-binding agreement with Sumitomo.

“Through the bankruptcy proceedings, the company intends to pursue its proposed strategic transaction and other significant asset sales to maximize value on behalf of all of the company’s stakeholders," Aviza said in a statement. The bankruptcy filing comes after the equipment manufacturer failed to release its financial results for the first quarter of 2009.

Instead Aviza updated its financial position on April 28, saying that it would miss sales and profit guidance by some distance. Having expected revenues of between $13 million and $18 million, the firm saw sales of between $9.5 million and $11 million.

The sudden decline resulted in a net loss of at least $5 million, aside from restructuring costs of around $9.5 million. With cash assets of only $6.7 million listed on its balance sheet as of December 26, the company was clearly in trouble. In a letter dated May 20 the company’s bankers said that it must immediately repay its whole $29.5 million credit balance.

Aviza had hoped that GaAs-based RFIC and high-brightness LED sectors would help to power a recovery after it shipped a number of systems to leading manufacturers last year. The company had been under threat of expulsion from the Nasdaq exchange for some time because of the low value of its shares, but its bankruptcy finally saw it delisted on June 19.

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