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Wed 18 May 2011 08:24 PM

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Abu Dhabi's ATIC eyes new sector investments

Advanced Technology Investment Company is looking to diversify beyond semiconductors

Abu Dhabi's ATIC eyes new sector investments
Abu Dhabis ATIC is looking to diversify beyond semiconductors. (Getty Images)

Abu Dhabi’s
Advanced Technology Investment Company is expanding microchip production
facilities from New York to Singapore and is seeking to buy companies in
other businesses to boost returns for the emirate, a
company official said.

Daniel Durn, ATIC’s executive director of
investments and strategy said on Wednesday there were a
couple of potential investments the company was evaluating to diversify
beyond semiconductors.

“We
are looking for another foundational investment in another sector,” he said in an interview.

Abu Dhabi is expanding in industries
including technology, metals and healthcare, seeking to reduce its
reliance on oil revenue over the next two decades.

The emirate entered
the semiconductor market in 2009 when ATIC joined US-based Advanced
Micro Devices in chip venture Globalfoundries and then
purchased Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing.

ATIC, an arm
of Abu Dhabi’s government-run investment vehicle Mubadala Development, will continue to invest in new semiconductor technologies that will
help growth at Globalfoundries, Durn said.

Those acquisitions of
technologies at an early stage of development will be in the range of
hundreds of millions of dollars each, he said.

Another
investment would establish the company in a new technology segment, he
said, without providing detail on what areas it’s targeting. ATIC has
already evaluated and rejected three acquisition opportunities in the
range of $3 billion to $10 billion, he said.

Globalfoundries will invest about $5.5 billion this year, almost double
last year’s outlay, to expand plants in Singapore, Dresden, Germany, and
New York state, Durn said.

ATIC’s share of the spending will be about
$3 billion, he said. As the Abu Dhabi investor continues to spend, it
will raise its stake in Globalfoundries to 90 percent by the end of the
year and increase it later to as much as 95 percent, Durn said.

Globalfoundries plans to invest $6 billion to $8 billion in a
semiconductor plant in Abu Dhabi, ATIC’s Sami Issa, executive director
in charge of operations in the emirate, said today. The company is on
schedule to break ground on the facility in 2012 and to begin producing
microchips there in 2015, he said.

Durn and
Issa spoke at an Abu Dhabi presentation by Advanced Micro Devices of its
new Llano semiconductor. The chip combines normal personal computer
functions with high-quality video, Rick Bergman, AMD’s senior vice
president and general manager for products, said in an interview.
There is “no shortage of demand” for the chip among customers, Bergman
said.

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