BRUSSELS / BERLIN (April 30): Intel wants 8 billion euros ($ 9.7 billion) in public subsidies for the construction of a semiconductor factory in Europe, its CEO said on Friday, while the region seeks to reduce its dependence on imports in a context of shortage of supplies.
This is the first time Pat Gelsinger has released a figure on how much state aid he would like, as Intel continues a multibillion-dollar campaign to take on its Asian rivals in contract manufacturing.
âWhat we are asking the US and European governments to do is make it competitive for us to do it here versus Asia,â Gelsinger told Politico Europe in an interview.
Politico quoted Gelsinger as saying he was looking for around â¬ 8 billion in grants. The company later distanced itself from the report, saying it did not give a precise figure, although it made it clear that EU leaders need to invest to ensure a vibrant semiconductor industry. .
Gelsinger, during his first European tour since taking office, met European Commissioner Thierry Breton in Brussels on Friday. The visit followed the launch of a plan for Intel to invest $ 20 billion in chip production in the United States.
On top of that, Gelsinger is prospecting for a location for a factory in Europe that he says would support Breton’s goal of doubling the region’s share of global chip production to 20% over the next decade.
Breton spoke earlier Friday with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC), the world’s largest chipmaker ahead of Samsung and Intel.
In separate tweets, Breton described his meeting with Intel’s Gelsinger as an “in-depth discussion”, while a video call with Maria Marced, president of TSMC Europe, had been a “good exchange”.
“To meet current and future demand from the semiconductor industry, Europe will dramatically increase its production capacity – both on its own and through selected partnerships to ensure security of supply,” said declared Breton.
TSMC said discussions with Breton demonstrated its commitment to the region. âOur desire to support our clients as fully as possible means that we are always willing to establish open communications with governments and regulators wherever they are and wherever we are based,â the company said.
The Commission said Breton would hold further discussions on May 4 with the CEOs of two Dutch semiconductor players: ASML, the leading maker of semiconductor lithography tools, and with chipmaker NXP.
The recent disruption of semiconductor supply chains has heightened the urgency of efforts to reduce dependence on imports, but analysts warn Europe’s shrinking technology base means it offers no market viable for a high-tech factory, or “fab”.
Industry and diplomatic sources say that of the Big Three chipmakers, Intel is the only one to date to express concrete interest in Breton’s goal of producing Europe’s most advanced chips.
Breton’s desire to attract a large foreign chipmaker has baffled local players, and he is also discussing creating a European semiconductor alliance that would pool their interests.
Germany’s Infineon said on Friday he welcomed Breton’s initiative to boost chip production in Europe.
âWith financial resources naturally limited, it is important to discuss the most urgent needs and the most reasonable means of investment,â said Infineon.
Gelsinger, who met Economy Minister Peter Altmaier and Bavarian Governor Markus Soeder on the German leg of his European tour, reportedly said Germany would be a suitable location for a possible European foundry.
âGeopolitically, if you’re in Europe, you want to be in continental Europe,â he told Politico, in remarks in a second interview with the German business daily Handelsblatt.
“We believe that Germany is a good candidate – not the only one, but a good candidate – for which we could strengthen our manufacturing capacities,” he said, also indicating his interest in the Benelux countries.
In Germany, Gelsinger also met with executives from automaker BMW and telecommunications operator Deutsche Telekom, Intel said. Sources said he also visited Volkswagen headquarters, although neither side confirmed this.
Gelsinger will travel to Israel next week, where Intel is expected to announce a $ 200 million investment in a new chip development campus and the hiring of 1,000 employees.
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