Abu Dhabi's Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC) plans to invest up to $10 billion over the next two years in GlobalFoundries' New York semiconductor factory, its chief executive said on 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 $9-10 billion for expansion of our facility in New York,” ATIC Chief Executive Ibrahim Ajami told Reuters. ATIC also plans to invest in GlobalFoundries' chip manufacturing facilities in Germany and Singapore, Ajami said without elaborating.
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 nanometre nodes, which will be growth areas in the next three to four years, Ajami said.
Utilising smaller nodes, crucial parts of computer chips, is a vital part of making electronic devices smaller, such as thinner 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 chip manufacturers will continue to grow at a double-digit pace as more firms outsource production to companies like GlobalFoundries, he said. “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 (LEDs) and central processing units (CPUs) for computers, were put on hold in 2011 due to tough market conditions. But the company continues to invest in the oil-rich emirate, especially in research, development and training, Ajami said. Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates is investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and infrastructure to diversify its economy away from oil.