Italy Seeks to Charm Intel With New $4.5 Billion Fund

Roman coins Italy woos Intel
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Italy is so keen to promote semiconductor manufacturing investment within its borders that it has decided to dip into its pockets for some more Intel-bait, according to a new report. A draft decree seen by Reuters staff today includes mention of a €4 billion ($4.5 billion) fund to attract inward investment into the industry.

It's getting rather bewildering, trying to keep track of all the enticements, funds, and benefits available to chipmakers in the EU, so it's worth reviewing the figures at the present time. First of all, the EU Chips Act is expected to provide €15 billion ($16.7 billion) between now and 2030. This will flow in parallel to €30 billion ($33.3 billion) from public EU and national budgets. Now Italy is looking down the back of the couch for a €4 billion ($4.5 billion) lure, which is said to be part of an overall investment of around €8 billion ($8.9 billion) over 10 years.

On top of those figures, Italy is expected to welcome Intel with "other favorable terms" to seal the deal. It would be reasonable to expect niceties such as tax, construction, and investment reliefs may feature in any deal. Intel expects to spend as much as $95 billion in total, in Europe, to establish a fully featured semiconductor manufacturing business, so the contributory sums from the EU and nation states should be put in this context, and the longer term benefits.

Italy doesn't have all its eggs in the Intel basket, however. Other semiconductor players it's fishing for include STMicroelectronics, MEMC Electronic Materials, and Tower Semiconductor (which was recently bought by Intel).

Germany Mega Chip Fab, Italy Advanced Packaging, and France R&D?

Last week the German state media reported that Intel will open its mega fab in Magdeburg. Since that time several other sources have chimed in, and Magdeburg looks like a rather certain bet. Intel wants to build up a full EU ecosystem though, so it's also looking to build an advanced semiconductor packaging plant. This is what seems to be going to Italy, now that more funding is being prepared.

Another investment Intel will likely make is in an R&D Center in France, according to previous reports. The R&D Center will require a significantly smaller investment but will definitely be welcomed due to the prestige accompanying it.

From the above, it looks like Europe will certainly be able to reduce its dependence on the USA and Far East for semiconductor supplies, which is its stated aim. One must wonder, though, with all these facilities being built and coming on line in the next half decade, whether natural resources and the materials suppliers will be able to keep up.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.