STMicroelectronics and GlobalFoundries to build wafer fab in France

US and Swiss companies to receive 'significant' French investment

While the US continues to debate how and whether to subsidize its semiconductor manufacturing industry, one of its leading lights – GlobalFoundries – has announced a joint venture to build a wafer fab with Swiss concern STMicroelectronics and "significant financial support from the State of France".

The two companies today announced they've signed a "Memorandum of Understanding to create a new, jointly-operated 300mm semiconductor manufacturing facility adjacent to ST's existing 300mm facility in Crolles, France."

The plant is predicted to come online in 2026 and to produce 620,000 300mm wafers a year. GlobalFoundries will get 58 percent of the product, with the remainder destined for STMicroelectronics.

The factory will produce wafers using Fully Depleted Silicon On Insulator tech – a chipmaking technique that produces speedy and power-sipping chips that aren't leading edge but possess characteristics that make them suitable for use in the automotive and Internet of Things applications. The two companies will target buyers such as carmakers and manufacturers of comms equipment with the output of the factory.

Both companies stated the plant will help them to evolve their products in future, and that the factory's output will remain relevant to buyers for "for the next few decades".

All involved are also chuffed at the 1,000 jobs the plant will produce, and the contribution it will make to European Union's goal of making 20 percent of the world's silicon by 2030 while reducing dependence on long, fragile, and contended supply chains.

News of the plan to build the plant confirms whispers that The Register heard a month ago, and our musing at the time to the effect that the facility would focus on commodity kit.

The announcement follows the late June announcement by Taiwan's GlobalWafers that it plans to build a factory in Texas after German authorities stymied its acquisition of local hero Siltronics and the reported decision by Germany to sling Intel a €6.8 billion ($7.3B) booster that will defray the cost of building a chip plant within its borders.

France has not been so gauche as to discuss how many Euros it will send to STMicroelectronics and GlobalFoundries. ®

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