Today Intel announced a series of investments in European Union countries that could total as much as €80B over the next decade. The investments announced are:
Germany - The company will build two new fabs in Magdeburg, Germany with construction beginning in 2023 and production commencing in 2027. These fabs will be leading-edge and will serve both Intel’s foundry customers and their internally-developed and marketed products. This initial investment will be €17B, creating 7000 construction jobs and 3000 permanent Intel positions.
Ireland - Intel will expand their existing fab in Leixlip, Ireland, doubling the size of the cleanroom there at a cost of €12B. This will be used both for the Intel 4 process (to start) and for Intel foundry services.
Italy - The company stopped short of announcing an investment here, saying that they are in the process of negotiating with Italy on creating a state-of-the-art assembly and test facility in the country, with a potential cost of €4.5B. This is not as advanced or valuable as a front end fab, but the line between front end and back end is getting blurrier as more advanced manufacturing is used in assembly (chiplets, die stacking etc.)
France - Around Plateau de Saclay, France, Intel plans to create 1000 new high-tech Intel jobs at a new European R&D hub. This will be their center for design capabilities for high-performance computing and for artificial intelligence. This investment will be done by the end of 2024.
Poland - In Gdansk, Poland, Intel will expand its lab space by 50%. This facility does development of technology in the fields of deep neural networks, audio, graphics, data center and cloud computing. This expansion will be completed by the end of 2023.
Intel continues to go big with their turnaround plans. These are major investments, especially the one in Germany. Intel hadn’t added a new front end manufacturing site in more than twenty years. Now they have announced two (Germany and Ohio) in less than one quarter. Doubling the size of the fab cleanroom in Ireland is also a big move. It is surprising they would do backend manufacturing in Italy. BE is labor-intensive so semiconductor companies usually put these facilities in places with low-cost labor, typically in the Far East. Italian employees are expensive and labor laws there are restrictive. Either they are planning on a lot of automation or they are planning to get massive government incentives (or both). Even then, putting manufacturing in Italy would be a mistake in my view. But it would be a small mistake. With the Irish investment, they know what they are getting because the fab there is already running. Germany is about the only place I’d consider putting a fab in the EU, besides Ireland. Since Intel committed to build new fabs in Europe, they picked the right two countries. The design center in France is probably something they have to do to say they are comprehensively invested on the continent. France is also a difficult place to do business, but a design center is better than a manufacturing facility. It will probably be fine - it will just be expensive. Overall, if the company has to go big in Europe, and to be what Intel wants to be they do, this is a good investment plan. I like that Gelsinger is going so big with this turnaround. Changing the direction of a company as large as Intel requires big, bold changes.
link to press release: https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/newsroom/news/eu-new…
-Smooth H. (no INTC position)