Intel to invest €80 billion in EU semiconductor ecosystem

18 March 2022

Intel will invest as much as €80 billion in a European semiconductor ecosystem over the next decade. It will cover the entire value chain including research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and packing technology.

An initial €17 billion will be funnelled into a semiconductor facility in Germany. A new R&D and design hub will be set up in France, meanwhile, manufacturing and foundry services will be established in Ireland, Italy, Poland, and Spain.

The technology company hopes this 10-year plan will help bring its most advanced technology to Europe while addressing the need for a more resilient supply chain. The automotive industry has seen immense disruption over the last year due to supply bottlenecks of the essential electric component.

Semiconductor-shortage solution

Intel’s investment programme hopes to balance the global semiconductor supply chain by bolstering Europe’s production capacity. In total, the company will spend over €33 billion on its manufacturing efforts in the region.

Initially, there will be two ‘first-of-their-kind’ semiconductor fabs in Magdeburg, Germany, the state capital of Saxony-Anhalt. Construction is set to begin in the first half of 2023, with production coming online in 2027, pending European Commission approval.

These sites will deliver chips using Intel’s advanced Angstrom-era transistor technologies. The resulting output will supply both the company’s own global and European needs as part of its integrated device manufacturer (IDM) 2.0 strategy, as well as other foundry customers.

Intel pinpoints Germany as an ideal location to establish a silicon junction, a hub connecting its advanced European semiconductor ecosystem. This is thanks to its existing ecosystem, infrastructure, and talent. The initial build will create 7,000 construction jobs, followed by 3,000 permanent high-tech positions at Intel and tens of thousands of additional jobs with outside suppliers and partners.

Ireland and Italy

The company will continue to invest in its Leixlip expansion project in Ireland too. An additional €12 billion will be funnelled into the site, helping double the manufacturing space. Once complete, this expansion will bring Intel’s total investment in Ireland to more than €30 billion.

Negotiations are also underway for a back-end facility in Italy. A potential €4.5 billion investment would see this factory create roughly 1,500 Intel jobs, as well as 3,500 supply and partner positions. Operations could be expected to start between 2025 and 2027. Elsewhere in the country, Intel also plans to acquire Tower Semiconductor. Sporting a significant partnership with STMicroelectronics, Tower Semiconductor has a fab in Agrate Brianza.

France and Poland

Around Plateau de Saclay, France, Intel wants to build its new European R&D hub. This will create 1,000 new jobs within the company, with 450 available by the end of 2024. The country will become Intel’s European headquarters for high-performance computing (HPC) and artificial intelligence (AI). The tech firm expects innovations from HPC and AI to greatly benefit the automotive industry. Elsewhere in France, Intel also plans to establish its main European foundry design centre.

Intel is increasing its lab space by half in Gdansk, Poland, where it wants to develop deep neural networks, audio, graphics, data-centre and cloud-computing solutions. This expansion is expected to be completed next year.

‘Our planned investments are a major step both for Intel and for Europe. The EU Chips Act will empower private companies and governments to work together to drastically advance Europe’s position in the semiconductor sector,’ said Pat Gelsinger, CEO of Intel.

‘This broad initiative will boost Europe’s R&D innovation and bring leading-edge manufacturing to the region for the benefit of our customers and partners around the world. We are committed to playing an essential role in shaping Europe’s digital future for decades to come.’