Abu Dhabi’s ATIC to invest up to $10 billion in U.S. chip plant

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Investment Company plans to invest up to $10 billion over the next two years in GlobalFoundries’ New York semiconductor factory, its chief executive said Friday.

ATIC owns unlisted GlobalFoundries, having completed a buy-out of joint venture partner Advanced Micro Devices in March 2012. ATIC is controlled by Abu Dhabi state investment fund Mubadala.

“We have received commitments from Mubadala for an additional $9 billion-$10 billion for expansion of our facility in New York,” ATIC Chief Executive Ibrahim Ajami said.

ATIC also plans to invest in GlobalFoundries’ chip manufacturing facilities in Germany and Singapore, Ajami added.

The New York factory, which started operations in 2012, has the capacity to produce 300mm wafers at around 60,000 a month. The wafers are used to create integrated circuits, which are at the heart of all electronic devices.

ATIC wants to expand the factory to produce 20 and 14 nanometer nodes, which will be growth areas in the next three to four years, Ajami said.

Utilizing smaller nodes, crucial parts of computer chips, is a vital part of making electronic devices smaller, such as slimmer mobile phones.

Growth rates in the semiconductor industry, which has been hit by falling demand for personal computers as people switch to mobile devices such as tablets, are around the high single digits, Ajami said, but added that chip manufacturers would continue to grow at a double-digit pace as more firms outsource production to firms like GlobalFoundries.

“It is competitive but lots of segments are demanding more and more digital circuits such as automobiles, mobiles and electronics,” he said.

ATIC, which expects to be profitable by 2015, has not yet decided on plans for a wafer fabrication plant in Abu Dhabi, Ajami said.

Plans to build the plant to make items such as light-emitting diodes and central processing units for computers were put on hold in 2011 due to tough market conditions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 04, 2014, on page 4.




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