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AST gets more credit

AST says negotiations to increase its credit line to $300 million have been completed, with Samsung as the guarantor.

AST (ASTA) said today that negotiations to increase its credit line to $300 million have been completed.

AST had been in negotiations with a consortium of nine banks to increase its credit line from $200 million to $300 million. Samsung Electronics, which has already invested more than $60 million in the company, will be the guarantor. Funds from the credit lines will be used to repay a previously announced $50 million short-term loan from Samsung, according to AST.

The company also announced that Samsung has agreed to pay $10 million for intellectual properties belonging to AST, bringing the total amount of intellectual properties sold to Samsung to $25 million this year. AST says the property includes patent applications relating to semiconductor chip design conducted from 1994 to 1995 that were never used by AST. The company retains a license to the patent applications it has sold.

AST reported a loss of $135.3 million for the most recent fiscal quarter. The continuing losses at AST have caused Samsung to take a more active role in the management of the troubled PC maker. Y.S. Kim became chief executive and president of AST in August and replaced Ian Diery, who resigned after less than a year at the company.

Diery's departure was soon followed by Joseph Norberg, chief financial officer. Norberg was replaced by acting CFO Won Suk Yang. AST has also hired Noh Byung Park as worldwide development and manufacturing vice president.