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Intel unveils €80bn EU investment -- UK misses out

Intel will spend €33 billion on new fabs in Germany, Ireland and Italy, plus R&D investment elsewhere.

Intel’s EU investment will see it spend at least €33 billion to establish new fabs in the coming years, with a potential €47 billion more over the next decade, the firm announced today.

These announcements come just weeks after the EU launched its new “Chips Act”, which aimed to encourage sorely-needed investment in chip fabrication and development facilities across the bloc. Intel was broadly supportive at the time, although other commentators questioned how much new EU funding would actually be made available.

The UK, of course, will not see any of the Intel EU investment funds. Its own semiconductor development powerhouse, Arm, announced yesterday it plans to cut around 1,000 jobs in the UK and US following the collapse of its sale to Nvidia - the cuts were seen by analysts as the company making itself as lean as possible before an anticipated IPO next year.

Intel EU investment targets Germany, Ireland, France for now

At Magdeburg in Germany Intel will spend €17 billion on a new fabrication plant, which will produce still-in-development “Angstrom-era” chips, and should be operational by 2027, employing more than 3,000 people once up and running. Intel described its plans for Magdeburg as a “Silicon Junction”.

In Ireland Intel's EU investment will see it expand its Leixlip operations by spending €12 billion, doubling its manufacturing capacity there. This expansion will bring Intel 4 process tech, its forthcoming major node type, to the site, taking its total investment in Ireland to €30 billion.

The chip giant also said it was in talks with the Italian government to invest up to €4.5 billion on a new back-end manufacturing facility in the country, which would be in addition to the Tower Semiconductor-associated fab in Agrate Brianza.

See also: Intel to buy Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 billion in foundries drive

On the R&D side, as part of Intel's EU investment it will create a new European research and development hub in Plateau de Saclay in France, which should be operational by 2024. France will become Intel’s HPC and AI research HQ in Europe, and the firm will also build its main EU foundry design centre in the country.

The firm will also increase its lab space in Gdansk in Poland by 50% to work on deep neural networks, audio, graphics, data centres and cloud computing, and will establish a joint lab with the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre in Spain.

“It's bigger than one or two fabs - this is a holistic investment strategy, and it will create a world-class chip ecosystem that spans all of Europe,” said Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger in a pre-recorded video announcement.

“Overall we envision investing up to €80 billion in the EU over the next decade, along the entire semiconductor value chain, from R&D to design, advanced chip packaging to manufacturing and foundry services,” he added.

Ursula von der Leyden, president of the EU Commission, said: “I see today's announcement by Intel as a first major achievement under the EU Chips Act. An €80 billion investment over the next decade across the entire semiconductor value chain, from R&D to manufacturing and advanced packaging, with many strong local partners.”

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