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MCMS of Idaho seeks protection

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NAMPA, Idaho — MCMS Inc. has filed for protection from creditors under federal bankruptcy laws and agreed to sell most of its assets to Manufacturers' Services Limited of Massachusetts.

The sale price of $43.5 million will satisfy only part of its debt of more than $250 million, chief executive officer Rick Rowe said. Unsecured creditors will likely go unpaid, he said.

The sale is expected to preserve jobs at the Nampa-based company, executives said. The electronics manufacturer employs about 750 workers in Nampa and about 1,750 workers worldwide.

Manufacturers' Services, Rowe said, "has committed to hiring the vast majority of MCMS employees. We've recommended to MSL that they continue to operate all of our sites, but it's their call."

MCMS has secured financing to continue operations through the bankruptcy proceedings, which were initiated last week. Officials said day-to-day operations will continue uninterrupted.

The sale is subject to approval by the bankruptcy court. It could close as early as next month.

But Rowe said other potential bids could be made for the company.

MCMS reported severe financial difficulties to the Securities and Exchange Commission in July, and said it was exploring a sale combined with a restructuring of debt as one alternative.

The company, which began operating in 1984 as a division of Micron Technology Inc., has been reporting losses since 1998 and reduced its work force in Nampa by more than 1,000 so far this year.

Manufacturers' Services points to MCMS operations in Mexico, Malaysia and China as the key reason for its acquisition.