• Kyodo

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Panasonic Corp. plans to sell three semiconductor assembly plants in Southeast Asia to Singaporean chip manufacturer United Test and Assembly Center Ltd., sources said Friday.

The move is part of efforts by the electronics giant to accelerate outsourcing of its slumping semiconductor manufacturing operation. Last month, the company said it will sell off three of its chip plants in central Japan to an Israeli chipmaker.

Panasonic aims to unload the plants in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore by the end of fiscal 2014, which starts in April, and have its workers transferred to UTAC, the sources said. Other than the three plants, the company is also considering selling off a plant in China, they said.

Regarding its domestic chip plants, Panasonic will spin off three of them — two in Toyama Prefecture and another in Niigata Prefecture — into a separate entity in which Tower Semiconductor Ltd. has agreed to purchase a 51 percent stake.

The company also plans to close another plant in Okayama Prefecture that makes components related to semiconductor lasers by the end of March to trim its losses in the semiconductor business.

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