Rubicon Technology factory in Penang to close down

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PENANG: US-based Rubicon Technology Inc is shutting down its factory, Rubicon Sapphire Technology (M) Sdn.Bhd.

The company announced today that production activities at the facility established in 2010 at the Prai Industrial Estate were expected to cease by Nov 30, with the shutdown of the facility to be completed by the end of the year.

The Penang factory has been primarily engaged in producing polished and patterned substrates for the LED market.

The company said it was closing down its operations in Penang because it wants to focus on the optical and industrial sapphire market.

It did not give details about what will happen to its employees, or how many there are, in the statement released via Business Wire.

Rubicon is an advanced materials provider specialising in monocrystalline sapphire products for optical systems and specialty electronic devices.

Rubicon Chief Executive Officer Bill Weissman said in the press release: “The sapphire industry continues to be very challenging with pricing for LED sapphire products continuing to decline throughout this year.

“Given the market conditions, our strategy has been to build a business more focused on the optical and industrial sapphire market, where we have greater differentiation from our competitors and have interesting new technologies in development.

“We had also been trying to stay in the LED substrate market by limiting our product offering to six-inch diameter wafers where there is less competition and working hard to reduce cost to make that product profitable.

“While we made significant progress on that front, the continual decline of prices has made the prospects of becoming profitable in the LED substrate market unlikely for the foreseeable future. As a result, we have decided to focus on the optical and industrial sapphire market at this time.”