March 29, 2019 / 6:23 AM / 3 months ago

Switzerland's VAT keeps limits on work hours, citing gloomy chip market

ZURICH, March 29 (Reuters) - Swiss vacuum valve maker VAT Group on Friday said it is prolonging shorter working hours for 400 production employees for another three months through June 30, citing persistent soft market conditions particularly in semiconductor equipment.

“VAT continues to be confronted with a market correction due to the significant capacity additions by the semiconductor companies during 2017 and the beginning of 2018 that need to be digested,” it said. “While VAT expects continued growth in its General Vacuum and Global Service business, the semiconductor and display activities are suffering from low investment activities and push-outs of larger fab expansions.”

VAT, whose vacuum valves are critical components in chip factories, is seen as an industry bellwether. It announced shorter working hours, a measure to keep from laying off trained employees it wants to keep ready for when the market turns, last October.

Reporting by John Miller; editing by Thomas Seythal

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