GlobalFoundries unveils plan to double NY fab capacity

GlobalFoundries also unveiled a new logo and branding during the fab expansion announcement. (GlobalFoundries)

As anticipated, GlobalFoundries formally announced Monday a sweeping expansion plan for what it called its most advanced manufacturing facility, located in upstate New York, including a $1 billion investment to immediately add wafers to its existing Fab 8 facility, along with a longer term plan to build a new fab on the same campus to double the site’s total manufacturing capacity.

The announcement was made Monday morning at a live and virtual event, where GF gathered f leaders from federal and state government and the broader semiconductor industry to discuss ongoing U.S. semiconductor supply chain challenges. The dignitaries included U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer​ (D-NY), who exuberantly voiced approval for the expansion plan, as well as U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo. The announcement comes a month after Schumer led the Senate to pass the $250 billion U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), which includes $52 billion allocated specifically to boost domestic chip manufacturing.

"What GlobalFoundries is doing today is so important to the whole country, and it's a red-letter day for the [New York state] capitol district," Schumer said during the event.

A GF company statement said the expansion and new build-out will be funded through “private-public partnerships including customers, federal and state investments.” It was not clear if the company will access funding from USICA, which has not yet been approved by the full Congress, and could be combined in some way with similar bills from the U.S House of Representatives before resulting legislation is passed on to President Biden.

GF CEO Thomas Caulfield said the company is answering the call for more domestic chip production, but also is more broadly doing its part to help the worldwide semiconductor industry rebound from a historic chip shortage. “About 48% of demand for chips is generated by U.S. companies, but only 12% of those chips are made here,” he said, adding that investments like GF’s are “critical and crucial to rebuilding global supply and balance. Adding this capacity will double the size of our output over the years.”

“This new capacity will serve the growing demand for secure, feature-rich chips needed by high-growth markets including automotive, 5G connectivity and the Internet of Things,” the company statement read. “The facility will also support national security requirements for a secure supply chain.”

The immediate investment in Fab 8 will allow GF to add an additional 150,000 wafers per year within its existing fab. Meanwhile, the construction of the new fab also will bring more than 1,000 new direct high-tech jobs and thousands more indirect jobs, including construction jobs, to the region. GF employs more than 15,000 worldwide with 7,000 people across the U.S., and nearly 3,000 at its headquarters in Malta, New York.

GF’s announcement arrives amid reports that the company is the subject of acquisition talks involving Intel. GF told the Wall Street Journal last week that it had not directly discussed a sale of the company with Intel, although the WSJ report noted that talks may have occurred between Intel and GF owner Mudabala Investment Co. On Monday morning, when asked about the reported acquisition talks, a GF spokesman told Fierce Electronics, “We have no further comment.”

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