Globalfoundries looks to Dresden fab expansion

Globalfoundries looks to Dresden fab expansion

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

German Economy Minister Peter Altmeier has visited Dresden to highlight the importance of the semiconductor industry in Europe.

Expanding the cleanroom space at the GlobalFoundriews fab would depend on a mix of funding sources, likely to include the German state via a renewed IPCEI (Important Project of Common European Interest) and customers prepared to pay upfront for a guaranteed share of the fab’s output.

Globalfoundries CEO Tom Caulfield said he was confident that the expansion could go ahead when IPCEI-2 gets funded.

Caulfield did not give any details or put budgetary value on the proposed expansion which appears to be set to come on stream in 2024. Caulfiled did speak more generally of the semiconductor industry’s need to invest to support an industry that would have doubled to annual value of $1 trillion within 8 years.

On his visit Altmeier was presented with the chipmaker’s ten-year plan. Altmeier has been a keen proponent of Germany providing a substantial helping hand to the domestic semiconductor industry under a renewed IPCEI.

Altmeier has already set aside €5 billion (about US$5.9 billion) to support chip makers and he said that state support could be doubled to support strong interest from outside Germany.

Caulfield said Globalfoundries would spend $1 billion in Dresden over the next two years to get to maximum manufacturing capacity out of the current wafer fab but that beyond that new cleanroom space would be required.

Caulfield said he “hoped to be back soon with more details of our plan” adding that Globalfoundries was ready to co-invest on production covering technologies from 55nm down to 22nm FDSOI “and beyond.” This were the types of technologies that European equipment and vehicles makers would require, he said

Caulfield also referenced back to a recent announcement in Singapore where Globalfoundries has broken ground on a wafer fab that is being paid for by a mix of the Singapore Economic Development Board with co-investments with committed customers. He said this would be a good business model for Singapore, the US and Dresden. “It takes partnership with government and customers.”

Altmeier said that Globalfoundries, Bosch and Infineon had all benefited from the first IPCEI, and that this had in turn benefited Germany.

Globalfoundries has applied for funding under IPCEI-2. While the funding under IPCEI comes from national entities it is organized by the European Union. Initial approval of the IPCEI-2 could come later this year with final approval in 2022.

When asked specifically if Globalfoundries has a plan for a next wafer fab build out at Dresden Caulfield said: “We have a master plan. We will need to add manufacturing capacity. We need the right economics and co-investment to be in place. This will come with IPCEI-2.”

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