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In a move to cut the operating costs down and generate additional revenues, Advanced Micro Devices, the world’s No.2 microprocessor maker, is reported to spin off its wafer testing and analysis laboratory in Austin, Texas into a fully-owned independent subsidiary called Cerium Laboratories.

Austin Business Journal reports that at the end of April Sunnyvale, California-based AMD is expected to announce a spin off for its Austin, Texas-based Process Characterization and Analysis Lab that tests all wafers and materials produced or used by AMD’s semiconductor fabs. The web-site quotes AMD’s senior materials specialist with the Austin, Texas, lab – Sankar Raman – as saying that new company would be a wholly owned subsidiary of AMD called Cerium Laboratories.

Another executive from the lab is reported to have said that the new subsidiary hoped to generate business outside the semiconductor industry, focusing on the medical device, automotive and steel sectors. The lab can reach out to those industries because it can analyze the chemical composition of a variety of products, not just wafers. Semiconductor companies are not likely to provide their own products for testing to a company that is owned by AMD – a potential rival.

Currently the lion’s share – 80% – of  AMD’s Austin, Texas-based Process Characterization and Analysis Lab work is done for AMD. It is not clear whether the ratio of the lab’s business conducted with AMD and other clients will change dramatically once the Cerium Laboratories becomes independent, however, the move will clearly cut AMD’s costs down a bit and may even bring some profits to the company.

Some previous experiences with spin offs resulted in AMD’s selling parts of its subsidiaries to other companies.


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