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PHOENIX, September 4, 1995 - SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics has announced that its latest front-end facility at Phoenix, Arizona, has come through its critical qualification procedure ahead of schedule with flying colours, an achievement that is believed to be the fastest ever ramp-up of a leading edge wafer fab.

The intention to establish an 8-inch 0.5/0.35 micron CMOS production line in the USA was announced in April 1994 at the same time that the company announced the formation of its New Ventures Group (NVG) and its entry into the PC micro market. In May 1994, work began on installing state-of-the-art equipment/facilities in an existing building and the first working samples were obtained as early as February 1995. In July the production line achieved qualification and entered Phase 1 of its volume manufacturing schedule, with a throughput of 1000 wafers/week, all dedicated to the STX86 microprocessor line.

Progression to Phase 2 - with a throughput of 2000 wafers/week - will follow within a few months, allowing SGS-THOMSON to meet the surging demand for its STX86 and other high end VLSI ICs.

Underlining SGS-THOMSON's successful transformation into a global technology-based semiconductor manufacturer, the Phoenix fab is the company's second 8-inch production line to become operational; a third 8-inch fab is being equipped in Catania, Italy, and sites for a fourth 8-inch facility are currently being evaluated. In addition to the USA and Europe facilities, the company has a significant manufacturing presence in the Asia-Pacific region and recently announced an important joint venture for an assembly plant in Shenzhen, China.

SGS-THOMSON Microelectronics is a global independent semiconductor supplier listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:STM) and on the Bourse de Paris. It designs, develops, manufactures and markets a broad range of semiconductor integrated circuits (ICs) and discrete devices used in a wide variety of microelectronics applications including telecommunications systems, computer systems, consumer products, automotive products and industrial automation and control systems.