MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.--The Israeli government is attempting to force Intel Corp.’s hand on a decision to potentially build a new fab in the north of the country in exchange for a 1 billion shekel ($264.37 million) grant, according to media reports.
Intel has been putting off the decision of where to build its new fab, and reports in the Israeli media say the country’s Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor are losing patience with the chip maker.
Israel has now given Intel until early March to make its decision, in an ultimatum that would see the loan expire and the money used as a grant to another multinational, should Intel fail to respond within the timeframe.
Intel had asked for a $600 million grant from the Israeli government back in mid-2011, pointing to the firm’s already large $5 billion investment to upgrade its Kiryat Gat fab, a facility regarded as the most advanced chip manufacturing plant in the world.
Israel, however, only agreed to $264 million, with the condition Intel set up a new fab and assembly plant in the Galilee, specifically, Beit She'an. Building a fab in the area would create hundreds of local jobs in an area which has seen relatively little tech development to date.
Intel –which has been operating in Israel since 1964-- is said to be considering its options, with some rumblings that the firm could choose to plow its multibillion dollar investment into Ireland instead. The firm has also said it will not make a decision until the second quarter of 2012.