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Seagate To Boost Asian Investments

Asia will remain a vital part of hard-disk drive maker Seagate's strategy despite a decision to shut some recently acquired plants in the region, company executives said.
PENANG, Malaysia — Asia will remain a vital part of hard disk drive maker Seagate's strategy despite a decision to shut some recently acquired plants in the region, executives said in recent (Aug. 11) conference calls.

Charles Pope, executive vice president and CFO, said the "vast majority" of the firm's planned $1.3 billion in capital investments for fiscal 2007 would be directed to iits operations in Asia, which include plants in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and China.

While the investments were not broken down by country, they include increased funding for process development of recording heads in Malaysia and a ramp at Seagate's Suzhou, China, factory. Also included is a new media production plant in Singapore, executive vice president and COO Dave Wickersham said.

"A defined plan is now in place, and Seagate will expand media production in Singapore near our current media facility," he said.

Seagate expects to begin production at the new plant in the first half of 2008, Wickersham added.

The announcement comes just after Seagate confirmed that three Singapore plants owned by former rival Maxtor, which Seagate acquired last December, would be shut down by the end of 2006.

The Singapore Straits Times quoted Pope as saying the Maxtor plants were "redundant" and "cannot be retrofitted well to fit with Seagate's operations."

The plant closures are expected to result in the loss of some 3,500 jobs, and prompted a pledge from Singapore's Ministry of Manpower to assist laid-off workers.

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