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AMD spinoff approves new name

AMD spinoff approves new name

Seven years after the idea of a computer chip plant here was first proposed, officials with the new

Seven years after the idea of a computer chip plant here was first proposed, officials with the new GlobalFoundries company said they will follow through and build a $4.2 billion factory at the Luther Forest Technology Campus.

“Our vision and dream we hoped would happen here has finally happened,” Hector Ruiz, the chairman of GlobalFoundries, said after a ceremony Wednesday.

It was announced that GlobalFoundries will be the permanent name of the new company taking over Advanced Micro Devices’ manufacturing operations, in a partnership between AMD and the Advanced Technology Investment Fund of Abu Dhabi.

The plan to spin off manufacturing as part of an “asset smart” strategy was unveiled in October, and the deal was completed Monday.

On Wednesday, officials announced the new name, and said GlobalFoundries will follow through on AMD’s plan to build a plant at Luther Forest where more than 1,400 people will work.

“We’re committed,” said Ruiz, AMD’s former chairman, following an announcement at the Saratoga Technology and Energy Park attended by about 100 local business leaders and elected officials.

The new company will be an independent chip manufacturing company, or “foundry” in industry jargon. That means in addition to selling chips to AMD, it will be able to build advanced technology chips for other customers.

“In the next few years the fastest-growing part of the chip industry will be manufacturing services, where this fits in,” Ruiz said.

The new identity replaces a temporary name, The Foundry Co., that has been in use since AMD announced the planned spinoff last October.

The new company is headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, but will have facilities in Austin, Tex., and Dresden, Germany, as well as its planned New York plant.

The plant is being designed to make 300mm wafers that are cut into tiny 32 nanometer chips. Company officials have been using a $4.6 billion cost estimate, but on Wednesday revised the estimated cost downward to $4.2 billion, saying construction costs will be lower and other costs have been better refined.

Ruiz said this will be the first global foundry company, and will take advantage of local research programs. “We will make very cost-competitive, leading-edge chips,” Ruiz said.

GlobalFoundries will buy 222 acres at the technology campus. Terry Caudell, its director of wafer manufacturing, said site clearing should start in late March or early April, with construction starting this summer, and completion in 2012.

The Luther Forest plant will be called Fab 2. The existing plants in Dresden will be called Fab 1.

The Luther Forest project will receive $1.2 billion in state economic development incentives, assuming work starts by July.

The Malta and Stillwater planning boards are both expected to take initial approval votes on the factory site plan later this month.

Economic development officials said they were thrilled.

“This is great news in a tough economy,” said F. Michael Tucker, executive director of the Center for Economic Growth in Albany.

The current economic downtown also makes it a good time to invest, backers argued.

“If you believe in the cyclical nature of the economy, this is the time to do it,” said Michael Relyea, president of the technology campus corporation. “This plant is being built for 2012.”

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