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15 June 2009


Aviza receives NASDAQ delisting notice

On 10 June, etch and deposition equipment maker Aviza Technology Inc of Scotts Valley, CA, USA received a staff determination letter from the NASDAQ Stock Market stating that its common stock is subject to delisting, in accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rules 5100, 5110(b), and IM-5100-1. The letter was issued as a result of the firm on 9 June filing for relief under Chapter 11 of the US Bankruptcy Code. That followed a demand on 20 May from United Commercial Bank for Aviza to pay an outstanding debt of about $29.5m.

Over the past several months, Aviza has made efforts to reduce its expenses and working capital requirements in response to the unprecedented market conditions for semiconductor manufacturing equipment. This has included significant workforce reductions, executive salary cuts, mandatory time off for all staff and significant decreases in non-labor expenses.

Meanwhile, the firm has been working with Needham & Company LLC to review and pursue financial and strategic options for it to maximize value on behalf of stakeholders, including merging with or into another company, a sale of all or substantially all assets, and liquidation or dissolution through bankruptcy proceedings. The continuing declines in orders from and shipments to customers and related cash collections, the recent acceleration of borrowings under the firm’s secured credit facility, and the inability to identify new sources of liquidity have caused Aviza to seek bankruptcy protection in order to better manage its operations through an orderly restructuring process.

Prior to the Chapter 11 filing, Aviza executed a non-binding letter of intent to sell certain of its assets and businesses to Japan's Sumitomo Precision Products Co Ltd (SPP), which is the parent company of plasma etch and deposition equipment supplier Surface Technology Systems plc (STS) of Newport, Wales, UK. Through the bankruptcy proceedings, the firm intends to pursue its proposed strategic transaction with SPP and effect other significant asset sales. During this process, it expects to continue essential operations, including product support, service and warranty programs. As well as the headquarters in Scotts Valley, CA, Aviza has manufacturing, R&D, sales and customer support facilities in the UK (also in Newport, Wales), Germany, France, Taiwan, China, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Malaysia.

Aviza says that it does not intend to request a hearing before the NASDAQ Listing Qualifications Panel to appeal the decision. The NASDAQ letter sets forth the determination to delist the company’s common shares, suspend trading in its common stock at the opening of business on 19 June, and file a Form 25-NSE with the US Securities and Exchange Commission removing the common stock from listing and registration on the NASDAQ Stock Market.

See related items:

Aviza files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection

Bank calls in Aviza’s $29.5m debt

Aviza slashes March-quarter revenue guidance

Aviza’s accelerated cost cutting yields profit despite 29% sales drop

Aviza to exceed profit guidance for December quarter

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