TowerJazz CEO declines to confirm possible Panasonic plants buy

JERUSALEM Wed Dec 4, 2013 8:36am EST

JERUSALEM Dec 4 (Reuters) - Israeli chipmaker TowerJazz's CEO declined to confirm that the company is in talks to buy three Panasonic plants in Japan and said that reports it would finance such an acquisition with $100 million in equity were untrue.

Sources told Reuters last week Panasonic Corp will sell three chip plants to TowerJazz as the electronics giant wraps up a multi-billion-dollar restructuring.

Japanese media have reported TowerJazz would pay about $100 million for the plants.

"I am not confirming about Panasonic but Panasonic is a very, very good semiconductor company with good technologies," Russell Ellwanger, TowerJazz's chief executive, told Reuters.

TowerJazz was always keen to find acquisitions to increase capacity through well-run factories with specialised technologies, he said.

"Any type of acquisition we look at would be a few million dollars of cash or equity but nothing more than that," Ellwanger said. Any acquisition would have to be earnings accretive in the first year, he said.

The company, which makes chips for smartphones such as Apple's iPhone and Samsung's Galaxy, as well as battery chargers and AC/DC adapters, said last month that sales rose in the first nine months of 2013.

"Business is growing and looks stable coming into next year," Ellwanger said. "We see nothing but our core business continuing to grow."

TowerJazz's Nasdaq-listed shares closed at $4.04 on Tuesday, just above an intraday year low of $4.00, having roughly halved in value this year.

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