US tech firm MACOM pulls out of Belfast because of 'changes in the market'
A US tech firm is shutting its Belfast base with the loss of around 20 jobs due to "changing market conditions", it can be revealed.
MACOM Technology Solutions produces advanced semi-conductors used in mobile base stations.
A spokesman for the firm said: "MACOM, like many other companies, is continually evaluating its teams, offices and skill mix to align with the company's broader business requirements and market changes.
"Over the last 12 months there have been a number of changes in business conditions, which has unfortunately resulted in changes to the team in Belfast."
It's not clear whether Brexit played a part in the company's decision.
Last year, it announced a move to City Quays 1 at Belfast Harbour from its offices at Newforge Lane in the south of the city. At the time, it said it hoped to double its team of 22 staff.
But it's understood the company is moving out of its City Quays offices this month. MACOM did not respond when asked if the UK's exit from the EU was the reason for the decision.
In 2012, the company announced it was investing £2.5m in a major research and development project at its Belfast centre, and received backing of £700,000 from Invest NI.
A spokeswoman for the economic development agency said: "We understand the wider MACOM organisation is responding to changing business conditions.
"We continue to liaise with the company to leverage the best possible outcome for Northern Ireland, including minimising the impact on Belfast-based staff who may be affected by potential redundancies.
Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph last year, Dr Andrew Patterson, who headed up the business in Northern Ireland, said: "Our design business locally is working with gallium nitride on silicon - high power semi-conductors.
"This is a technology which the company has acquired and they are growing... it's potentially a very big market."
In 2012, he said the company's decision to invest in research and development demonstrated its loyalty to Northern Ireland.
"The Belfast centre has been a key research and development operation for the company, successfully developing a number of specialist components for the semiconductor market," he said.
MACOM employs around 1,000 people across the globe. It was previously known as M/A-COM Tech UK - which itself traded as Mimix Broadband before joining the M/A-COM Tech group in 2010.
In its results for the year ending September 29, 2017, the Massachusetts-based company reported an operating loss of $16.1m (£12m), compared to operating income of $13.2m (£10m) the year before.
However, revenues were $698.8m (£521.7m), an increase of 28.4%, compared to $544.3m (£406m) during the previous fiscal year.
President and chief executive John Croteau said that the last three months had been "very challenging".