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Sipex Announces Chinese Strategic Alliance

Sipex Corporation announced the signing of a term sheet outlining a planned strategic relationship with Hangzhou Silan Integrated Circuit Co., Ltd (Silan-IC). As part of this planned relationship, Sipex announced plans to close its Milpitas wafer fabrication operations. The products currently manufactured in the Milpitas fab will eventually be manufactured in Silan-IC's facility located outside of Shanghai, China. Silan-IC will also acquire a substantial portion of the equipment of the Sipex fab.

"It is with both excitement and sadness that I make this extremely important announcement regarding the future of our Company. Our Milpitas fab has made significant operational improvements over the last few years. However, our product needs and the process capability of this fab are no longer aligned. Therefore, it is not economically feasible to keep the fab operational," explained Ralph Schmitt, CEO of Sipex. "The sacrifices made by the people we expect to lay off due to this strategic manufacturing transition are greatly appreciated by me and by our stockholders. We will need their continued support and cooperation in order to properly meet our customers' needs during the transition period."

Upon the execution of definitive agreements, Sipex's current Bipolar and BiCMOS processes will immediately start to be transferred to Silan-IC. The Company expects the transition to take 9 to12 months. Sipex further expects to license certain products to enable Silan-IC to sell in the greater China marketplace. "This relationship is the start of the new reality of our business as China becomes a significant manufacturer and procurer of analog products," said Schmitt. "We need a new progressive model to be successful in the fastest growing market in the world." Sipex and Silan-IC also expect to cooperate in product designs in the future.

"We wanted to have a true strategic relationship and not just a foundry partner. We selected Silan-IC due to the many synergies in our businesses and products. They are the fastest growing IDM in China with significant resources to augment what already exists at Sipex." commented Brian Hilton, Chairman of the Board for Sipex.

"Sipex will help Silan-IC continue to build its position in China. We have great synergies in power and optical products." said Mr. Fan Wei-Hong, General Manager of Silan Integrated Circuits Co., Ltd. "We help Sipex solve an immediate manufacturing issue while enabling us with new process technologies and products. This is truly a win-win situation. We have already discussed further collaborative efforts that will make this a true long -term partnership."

The Company anticipates recording restructuring and asset write-down charges in connection with the Milpitas fab closure. Additional information on these charges willbe forth-coming in the Company's future SEC filings.

The relationship with Silan-IC is still subject to the successful negotiation of definitive agreements, transfer of Sipex's process technologies and the successful qualification of such processes and wafer testing.

Jueves, 01 Septiembre, 2005 - 10:11
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