Globalfoundries gives up on Abu Dhabi fab

The main owner of GlobalFoundries has decided not to start construction of a new megafab in the deserts of Abu Dhabi after all.

Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), blames uncertain global economic outlook for the delay, but it is fairly obvious that problems with its main customer AMD as well as imminent move to 450mm wafers must also have something to do with it.

Ground breaking on the project was supposed to take place next year with chips rolling out of the plant in 2015. But Ibrahim Ajami, the chief executive officer of ATIC, in an interview with The National, that the global economy still very volatile. It will have another look a the plan at the end of 2012.

However world economic events will have been expected to have resolved themselves by 2015, so the only thing that can really be bothering GloFo is that by that date its relationship with AMD will be forgotten and its new megafab will have no customers. GloFo has state-of-the-art fabs in Dresden, Germany and New York, USA.

AMD cancelled two accelerated processing units (APUs) that were supposed to be made at GF’s leading-edge 28nm HKMG process technology. AMD is also not sticking its GPUs at Globalfoundries at 28nm node.

Without these big orders, a superfab is pointless and GloFo will not need to expand capacity.

On the positive side, GloFo might be thinking that it is pointless building another 300mm wafer fab when the consensus is that a move to 450mm is inevitable.

Ibrahim Ajami said Globalfoundries and ATIC and Globalfoundries were still committed to Abu Dhabi and would definitely look at restarting the project in 2012.