LONDON Ė Chip foundry Globalfoundries Inc. has postponed plans to start building a wafer fab in Abu Dhabi in 2012, due to uncertain global economic conditions, according to a local newspaper report.
Back in May 2011 it was reported that Globalfoundries (Milpitas, Calif.) was planning to spend between $6 billion and $8 billion building a wafer fab in Abu Dhabi with groundbreaking to take place in 2012 and chip production scheduled to start in 2015. Meanwhile the foundry is constructing a wafer fab in Malta, Saratoga County, New York. That plan has been put on hold with a re-assessment to come some time in 2012, the report said.
Globalfoundries was formed by the spin-off of manufacturing facilities belonging to processor company Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and the acquisition of Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Pte. Ltd. This provided Globalfoundries with close to leading-edge production facilities in Dresden, Germany and Singapore. The money for the purchases came from Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), a sovereign wealth fund owned by the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Globalfoundries is 91 percent owned by ATIC.
"We will not be engaging in any ground breaking in Abu Dhabi in 2012," a recent National report quoted Ibrahim Ajami, CEO of ATIC, as saying. The National is an Abu Dhabi English-language newspaper.
"Against the backdrop of a global economy still very volatile, we took a decision from a board level that we should not have another facility right now, but we should assess what happens before the end of 2012 on our growth strategy," the report also quoted Ajami as saying.
The postponement of what had been ambitious capital expenditure plans come at a time when Globalfoundries is also struggling on a technical front and appears to be losing the confidence of its anchor customer AMD (see Reports: AMD cancels Globalfoundries 28-nm APUs and Opinion: AMD roadmap change helps TSMC?)
Many market analysts are predicting that 2012 will be a low- or no-growth year for the semiconductor market due to global economic uncertainty.
Related links and articles:
Opinion: AMD roadmap change benefits TSMC?
Reports: AMD cancels Globalfoundries 28-nm APUs
Report: Abu Dhabi fab to break ground in 2012
Globalfoundries: New York fab ready for kit