Saratoga County

Transfer of AMD incentives OK’d

Empire State Development’s board on Monday approved moving $1.2 billion in state economic develop

PHOTOGRAPHER:

Empire State Development’s board on Monday approved moving $1.2 billion in state economic development incentives for the planned computer chip factory in Malta from Advanced Micro Devices to a new spin-off company.

Meeting in New York City, the board of the state’s lead economic development agency unanimously approved shifting the benefit package, granted to AMD in 2006, to a new partnership between AMD and an Abu Dhabi technology investment fund.

“This was great news,” said Travis Bullard, an AMD spokesman.

AMD announced in October it was spinning off its expensive manufacturing operations to the new joint venture, initially being called The Foundry Co. The global corporation will own the planned plant at the Luther Forest Technology Campus, as well as existing AMD plants in Germany and elsewhere.

The incentives include a $650 million cash payment by the state, Empire Zone tax credits, and infrastructure investment.

AMD wants to begin site preparation work for the $4.6 billion factory in the spring, and break ground on the plant itself in mid-2009. The factory will employ 1,465 people, and is expected to attract a number of support and spinoff businesses.

Empire State Development has scheduled a public hearing for 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10, at the Luther Forest Technology Campus’ administration building on Hermes Road, Malta.

“It’s a public hearing on the entire transaction. The public will be able to speak to any aspect of it,” said Warner Johnston, a spokesman for Empire State Development.

Johnston said nobody from the public attended Monday’s meeting, although critic Kyle York of Saratoga Springs had said he planned to attend.

In a statement, York said state incentives shouldn’t be going to a corporation whose majority ownership is in Abu Dhabi, and is incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

“I believe the generous incentives of an Empire Zone should go to a company based in the Empire State paying corporate taxes to help the people of New York state,” York wrote.

Bullard said the successful transfer of the incentives is one of the conditions for creating The Foundry Co., and required before the new partnership is finalized.

“It’s vital to moving forward,” he said.

After the upcoming public hearing, the new arrangement must be approved by the Public Authorities Control Board, made up of representatives of the governor and legislative leaders. Johnston said that will be the final state action.

That board meets next on Dec. 17 in Albany.

Bullard said no date has been set for a vote by AMD shareholders on establishing the new corporate structure. “We would expect it to be as early in the new year as possible,” he said.

The incentive transfer must be complete before the shareholder vote, Bullard said.

Saratoga County supervisors, meanwhile, are moving forward with a separate resolution supporting the state’s transfer of the Empire Zone benefits to the new entity. The state requires resolutions of local support.

A public hearing is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 3, at the county board chambers in Ballston Spa, to be followed immediately by a vote by the Board of Supervisors.

Empire State Development is also in the process of approving a $30.3 million grant to the Luther Forest Technology Campus Economic Development Corp. for construction of power lines and other improvements in the Cold Springs Road area of Stillwater.

A public hearing on that proposal is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 11, at the technology campus.

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