ASMI takes action on chip making unit

Chip equipment maker ASM International said on Monday it is taking steps to improve operations at one of its units which is under fire from activist shareholders.

Hedge funds Hermes and Fursa have called for action at the unit, which makes machines for the early stages of chip production. They say it is under-performing and have called for the sacking of ASMI CEO Chuck del Prado and five supervisory board members.
ASMI said it plans to stop a number of loss-making activities, switch production sites and close its Bilthoven headquarters. The company aims to boost its profit margin at the unit from 3.4% to between 11% and 13%.
Hermes and Fursa own some 25% of the company between them, news agency ANP said. Another hedge fund, Britain’s Centaurus, also has a 7.2% stake in the company.

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