LONDON Ė Tower Semiconductor Ltd., an Israel-based foundry chipmaker that trades under the name TowerJazz, has said it has signed a binding memorandum of understanding with an unnamed Indian infrastructure company, to build and operate a 300-mm wafer fab in India.
According to reports, Tower (Migdal Haemek, Israel) will contribute to a consortium by providing know-how rather than cash.
The move would help Tower with migration to 300-mm wafers, to develop 90-nm analog process technology and deep submicron technologies such as 65- 40-nm, the company said.
A three-way consortium comprising Tower, the Indian conglomerate and a company described by Tower as a "worldwide leading technology provider" has presented to the empowered government committee which is overseeing an initiative to support and encourage the development of chip manufacturing in India. A Globes report states that the Tower consortium is bidding against at two other consortia in the government-organized tendering process.
Tower said it is in a strong position to win support from the Indian government because the consortium is strong and because Tower itself has experience of a previous successful government fab project win and execution.
However, Tower added that caution was necessary as it could not predict the outcome of Indian government selection or that it would win the bid.
The Indian initiative was revealed as Tower announced its financial results for 4Q11 and the full year of 2011.
"The recently signed India MOU is a tremendous opportunity for TowerJazz to utilize its manufacturing knowhow and technical expertise to gain a low cost entrance into an emerging market at a 300-mm wafer size level," said Amir Elstein, chairman of the board of directors of Tower, in a statement. "Should this proposal not be accepted, we remain active in pursuing such models where we add benefit to our partners and customers through our expertise and execution and benefit to the shareholders through profitable upside growth."
Related links and articles:
To have or not to have a fab in India
India wafer fab decision expected by end of 2012
Tower to transfer European IC processes to India, Brazil
Report: 11 firms pitch Indian wafer fabs
India starts hunt for fab-building chipmakers