TEL AVIV, April 1 (Reuters) - Israeli chipmaker TowerJazz said on Tuesday it will close its Nishiwaki, Japan plant as it kicks-off its joint venture with Panasonic Corp .
TowerJazz, which holds 51 percent of the joint venture that was announced in December, said the closure of the Nishiwaki plant will reduce its annual fixed costs by $130 million. It will keep on about 100 of the 800 employees at the plant and has retained a Japanese outplacement firm to help find employment for the remaining workers.
TowerJazz Chief Executive Russell Ellwanger said the loss-making company is targeting achieving net profit on a GAAP basis by the fourth quarter of 2014. (Reporting by Tova Cohen)