One thing everyone agrees on in semiconductor manufacturing is that it's expensive. If you can find the money to design leading edge microprocessors and afford to build the facilities required to manufacture them then you can make some serious profit. But since this amounts to several billion dollars for each new advance, that rules most people out.
Unless you're sitting on massive oil reserves that is. ATIC (Advanced Technology Investment Company) is wholly owned by the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, which is estimated to own some nine percent of the world's known oil reserves and is clearly looking for somewhere to invest the money it makes from it.
An industry desperate for investment and a cash-rich sovereign investment fund seem like and ideal match and so it has turned out, with ATIC looking to add to its acquisition of AMD's manufacturing assets to create Global Foundries last year, with a stated plan to acquire of Singapore based foundry, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing.
In this exclusive video footage of the press event announcing the bid, the five key executives concerned with the deal all give their take. Waleed Al Mokarrab, the chairman of ATIC, commences by stating that ATIC is a long term investor that, somewhat obviously, provides substantial, patient capital.
Interestingly, he goes on to make the point that, whilst owned by the government of Abu Dhabi, ATIC is a stand-alone, separately capitalised company, apparently only directed by commercial principles. This begs the question: as opposed to what? We can only assume that someone felt the need to pre-empt any concerns about non-commercial motivations for wanting to be a major player in semiconductor manufacturing.