Thursday, the Times Union, a Mohawk Valley New York newspaper, started the rumor that GlobalFoundries is building an additional fab. They claim a local labor union official has the inside scoop.
Frank Natalie, business agent for Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 7 labor union, said Tuesday at a labor rally in East Greenbush, New York: "What we’re hearing is they’re applying to the state for a substantial amount of financial assistance."
GlobalFoundries is located near Malta, New York on the Luther Forest Technology Campus, a 1,414-acre (573 hectares) site specifically designed for semiconductor and nanotechnology manufacturing and other innovative technologies. GlobalFoundries owns 223 acres at Luther Forest and has room to build up to three fabs. It is already building a new administration building at the site that would be part of a second factory, although it has never said it will go forward with a second manufacturing facility.
AMD Fab 8 is currently being built. On June 30, GlobalFoundries will open wok on secod administration building located to the right of this picture, looking identical to the first part of Fab 8 – a ground building for Fab 9?
The rumors got more substantial when YNN, the Mohawk Valley cable TV business news, had a video interview of Dennis Brobston, President of the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation (SEDC). He outlined some of the history of the growth GlobalFoundries has brought to the region as well as their prospects for expansion.
Brobston said, "You didn’t get Luther Forest approved for one fab, you got it approved for three. This is the progression we’re expecting. We’d love to see the announcement as soon as possible. The state has to work through that." Brobston added that SEDC has worked to put a number of financial incentives on the table for a possible plant. In 2006, New York’s Empire State Development approved a cash and tax break financial package that totals nearly $1.4 billion, including $650 million in cash.
GlobalFoundries produces chips for fabless companies that were the top three in 2010 sales volume: Qualcomm ($7.2 billion), Broadcom ($6.59 billion), and AMD ($6.49 billion)
In an interesting development earlier this year, GlobalFoundries joined with imec, a nanoelectronics research and development center, for development of sub-22nm CMOS scaling and GaN-on-Si technology on high performance 200nm wafers. This work could show up in both the Dresden and Singapore fabs since they have 200nm wafer production lines.
Next door to GlobalFoundries on the Luther Forest campus is Hudson Valley Community College which has been awarded a $3 million National Science Foundation grant to promote and train more students for careers in computer chip manufacturing. Just up the road is Albany University’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE), the first college in the world dedicated to education, research, development and deployment in nano-everything: science, engineering, bioscience and economics.
GlobalFoundries is hiring additional full time maintenance staff for the Malta, New York fab. Next week, they will add 50 new employees. However, the company can’t find enough qualified staff to fill 50 heating, cooling, and other maintenance jobs. "I have 50 openings for facilities positions that I just can?t fill," said David James, GlobalFoundries senior facilities manager. The ultimate goal for Malta is to reach 1,400 when the plant is fully operational and begins generating revenue in 2013.
The Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), the Abu Dhabi fund that owns GlobalFoundries, has spent $6 billion on the company in the past three years. In March, ATIC announced they would double their capital expenditure in 2011 investments to over $5 billion.
Since the rumored expansion plans are popping up from multiple reliable business and political sources in the Mohawk Valley, BSN* asked GlobalFoundries to comment and received the following email from their spokesperson Travis Bullard:
"We don?t comment on rumor or speculation. However, we can state that our business is growing and because timing is so critical to our business, we regularly invest resources in advanced planning to meet potential future requirements. This work is necessary to inform our business decisions and ensure we are capable of executing plans in the necessary timeframe.
We have not announced any new plans for expansion at Fab 8. We did announce capacity expansion plans in June 2010, which included the Phase 2 section of Fab 8, and in February we announced plans for the second office building, what we call Admin 2, but nothing since then. We are getting ready to start construction work on Admin 2 next week with a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, June 30.
We are often asked about when we will make a decision about a second module. The answer to that question has not changed: any decisions on additional facilities will be driven by market demand and global business conditions.
I hope this helps.
On June 30 during the groundbreaking ceremony for their second Administration building, BSN* is betting that GlobalFoundries will make a revelation related to the above rumors.