Intel to invest €33bn in EU semiconductor manufacturing network

15 Mar 2022

Inside Intel's Fab 34 in Leixlip, Ireland. Image: Intel

Intel is starting off a major EU chips investment with €33bn going to Ireland, Germany, France, Italy, Poland and Spain.

Intel has revealed the first stage of its expansive investment programme for semiconductor manufacturing across Europe, starting with a €33bn investment.

Ireland will see €12bn of this pan-European investment at the company’s site in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

Future Human

The investment will fund an expansion that will double the manufacturing space at the Leixlip facility, expanding Intel’s foundry services in Europe and bringing Intel 4 process technology to the region. Chips based on this 7nm process are expected to debut in 2023.

This is the first phase of a planned €80bn investment in the EU over the next decade.

The EU roadmap is part of Intel’s broader IDM 2.0 strategy for integrated device manufacturing announced last year. Ireland’s role in this ambitious plan has included the creation of 1,600 permanent high-skilled jobs at the company’s Kildare campus.

“Our planned investments are a major step both for Intel and for Europe,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. “We are committed to playing an essential role in shaping Europe’s digital future for decades to come.”

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen added that this marks “the first major achievement of the EU Chips Act”.

The European Chips Act was announced by von der Leyen last month, detailing a strategy to make Europe the source of 20pc of the world’s chip production by 2030.

Ireland

Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD, spoke with Gelsinger ahead of the announcement today (15 March).

“This announcement firmly underlines the importance of Intel’s operations here for their future plans and the company’s deep and ongoing commitment to Ireland,” said Martin.

“Investing a further €12bn, on top of the €5bn previously announced on the new Fab 34 building, brings the overall investment by Intel in its site here to €30bn. This very significant show of confidence, in Ireland and in our talented and skilled workforce, is a strong endorsement of our offering to investors.”

Eamonn Sinnott, general manager of Intel Ireland, said the level of investment “demonstrates that Ireland is a very competitive location for leading-edge investments such as these and will be into the future”.

“With this new fab, we double the manufacturing capacity available in Ireland and will deliver powerful and efficient Intel 4 technology to a continent hungry for local production of leading-edge semiconductor technology.”

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan welcomed the “remarkable” investment and said it would have “a profound impact” on the Irish economy.

“Intel’s campus in Leixlip is home to one of the largest industrial construction projects in Europe and will house some of the most complex manufacturing facilities in the world. Once the facility is operational, employment in Intel Ireland will stand at 6,500,” Shanahan added.

Germany

Intel has also committed €17bn for a semiconductor fabrication mega-site in Germany. This site, dubbed ‘Silicon Junction’, will consist of two first-of-their-kind fabs that will deliver chips using Intel’s Angstrom-era transistor technologies.

Construction is expected to begin in the first half of next year, with the facility planned to be online by 2027. This site will serve Intel’s foundry customers in Europe and around the world.

The German investment will eventually lead to 3,000 permanent high-skilled jobs for the Saxony-Anhalt region.

The name Silicon Junction is inspired by Intel’s plans to make this German site a connection point for its other centres of innovation and manufacturing across the country and region.

France

Meanwhile France will see a new Intel R&D and design hub established around Plateau de Saclay, which is also known as also Silicon Valley Européenne.

This comes with the creation of 1,000 high-tech jobs, 450 of which are expected to be available by the end of 2024.

France is set to become Intel’s European headquarters for high-performance computing and artificial intelligence design capabilities. Intel also plans to establish its main European foundry design centre in France.

Italy

Intel and Italy have entered into negotiations to build a state-of-the-art back-end manufacturing facility there. This represents a potential investment of up to €4.5bn, creating about 1,500 jobs.

The proposed facility would be a first-of-its-kind site in the EU and the commitment from Intel comes in addition to other foundry innovation and growth opportunities it has planned for the region following completion of its $5.4bn acquisition of Tower Semiconductor.

Intel acquired the Israeli chipmaker to expand its reach in the US and Asia, where Tower operates foundries, but the deal also presents growth opportunities for the business in Italy, Israel and Japan. Tower has a significant partnership with STMicroelectronics, which has a fab in Agrate Brianza.

Poland and Spain

In Gdansk, Poland, Intel will increase its lab space by 50pc by 2023. This location will focus on developments in deep neural networks, audio, graphics, data centres and cloud computing.

The Barcelona Supercomputing Centre and Intel plan to establish joint labs in the Spanish city. Intel has been collaborating with the centre on exascale architecture for the past 10 years and is now working on zettascale architecture for the coming decade.

Additional reporting by Vish Gain

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Elaine Burke is the editor of Silicon Republic

editorial@siliconrepublic.com