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Tuesday, October 27, 1998 Published at 10:26 GMT

Business: The Economy

Silicon Glen jobs to go

The price of some computer parts have dropped sharply

Seagate Electronics is to close its factory in Livingston, Scotland with the loss of 263 jobs.

The US-owned company has failed to find a buyer for the plant, which it put up for sale earlier this month.

The company told workers it would shut down operations some time after February 4, although efforts would continue to sell the facility in order to avoid redundancies.

Managing director Gordon Hutchinson told workers: "We have contacted many companies, both in Europe and America, and although we have had some feedback we have not been able to find a buyer.

"We are in the worst recession in 25 years in the industry."

The company has notified the Department of Employment and the Scottish Office which it says is very keen to help.

Seagate is discontinuing the manufacture of silicon wafer computer memory chips because of worldwide overcapacity.

The California-based company is primarily a manufacturer of disc drives and will now supply the necessary computer chips from external sources. It has other manufacturing facilities in the Far East.

The silicon chip industry has been suffering from a worldwide downturn in the last year that has led to the cancellation or closure of several other UK production sites.

Many Japanese and Korean manufacturers have scaled back their memory chip operations in recent months.

NEC Semiconductors closed a production line earlier this month, while Fujitsu, Hyundai and LG all have either closed or postponed opening facilities in the UK.

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