LONDON – Responding to a request from the Indian government, foundry Tower Semiconductor, which trades as TowerJazz, has pitched an expansion to a project to build a 300-mm wafer fab in India. A decision on whether the project will go ahead is expected before the end of 2012, according to Russell Ellwanger, CEO of Tower.
Ellwanger provided an update on the status of the previously announced Indian fab project during a conference call with analysts that discuss Tower's 3Q12 financial results.
Tower Semiconductor Ltd. (Migdal Haemek, Israel) had previously announced that it is in a consortium with IBM and Indian firm Jaypee that has been shortlisted by the Indian government to build and run a 300-mm wafer fab in the country. Tower has proposed that it would help build and operate a wafer fab and in return would get a proportion of the manufacturing capacity for its own use.
Details of the size and location of the project and the amount of Indian government support have not been revealed.
Ellwanger told analysts in the conference call that he attended a meeting with the government-appointed committee empowered to make the decision on the program, at the end of October. At that meeting the empowered committee asked for proposals to be resubmitted with an increased scope. "And that was asked to be resubmitted by the 14 [Nov.]. We did resubmit an increased scope, and they are now going to be calling another face-to-face meeting," Ellwanger told analysts.
No further detail on the nature of the increased scope was provided, but Ellwanger added: "We believe at this point, it's just between us and one other consortium."
Tower has previously said that the India wafer fab could take three years to get from ground breaking to having qualified silicon output.