Advanced Technology Manufacturing Company, an investment company that belongs to the government of Abu Dhabi and which controls Globalfoundries contract maker of semiconductors, plans to invest $6 to $7 billion into a chip manufacturing fab in Abu Dhabi. The amount of investments point to another gargantuan fab akin to Globalfoundries plant in Dresden, Germany, and Saratoga, New York.
ATIC wants Globalfoundries to become the world's largest contract maker of semiconductors with leading-edge technologies and most advanced manufacturing facility. At present Globalfoundries is trailing its Taiwanese rivals Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company and United Microelectronics Corp. and it will take the company a long time and huge investments to leave behind its competitors. ATIC committed to invest $3 billion to expand manufacturing facility in Dresden and the yet-to-be-launched fab in New York, but that will be not enough to outperform TSMC and UMC.
The fab in Abu Dhabi will process 300mm wafers and will cost from $6 to $7 billion, said Ibrahim Ajami, chief executive officer of ATIC, told Dow Jones Newswires. The manufacturing facility will ramp up production between 2014 and 2015.
Even though semiconductor fabs already cost billions, the $7 billion budget may indicate that the plan is to construct the world's largest semiconductor manufacturing complex. Perhaps, ATIC will not limit itself to just production of actual wafers, but will also build test and packaging facilities adjacent to the giant fab.
Recently ATIC invested into Austin, Texas-based low-power chip designer Smooth-Stone. The company apparently plans to continue investments into promising non-manufacturing businesses or assets.
"We're an investment company focused on making sure we strengthen our position in semiconductors. That could involve expanding into other parts of the value chain," said Mr. Ajami.