October 23, 2012 10:26:18 AM
STARKVILLE -- A semiconductor firm started by two Mississippi State University faculty members will soon lay off its entire workforce, as the company prepares to permanently shut down at the Thad Cochran Research Park. The 90 employees of SemiSouth Laboratories were informed of the closure on Friday.
SemiSouth is a subsidiary of Power Integrations, of San Jose, Calif., which announced Monday that SemiSouth's closure would cost them $60 million.
But David Shaw, vice president for Research and Economic Development at Mississippi State University, said despite the glaring negatives, SemiSouth's closure should not be taken as a sign of trouble for the research park as a whole.
After SemiSouth moves out, their unoccupied building will be the only one available in the park.
"We have a lot of very successful companies that are located in the park and we are always talking with others that are prospects for either expanding or taking on new opportunities," Shaw said. "We actually have several prospects that could fit in (SemiSouth's) building.
"From that standpoint, that is not a concern of ours," he added.
Shaw's concern, for now, is determining what the future plans are for both SemiSouth and Power Integrations and how that affects the university. Discussions have begun, but nothing has been made official.
The university owns some of the technology developed by SemiSouth, so even with the company folding, future business opportunities with Power Integrations could still be possible.
Ideally, if an agreement was reached, the university could retain some SemiSouth employees.
"We are hopeful that something positive can come out of this," Shaw said. "But we simply don't know right now."
In a release, Power Integrations CEO Balu Balakrishnan said he is disappointed, but that the closure "reflects the challenges and risks" ever-present in the business of high-voltage power conversion.