The world’s third largest chip contract manufacturer GF (formerly Globalfoundries) is preparing to go public on the NASDAQ. So far, however, neither the date of the Initial Public Offering (IPO) nor the number of shares or their price range have been set. The IPO had been expected for years and should be watched very carefully in view of the global shortage of chips.
GF is a US company, which until now is wholly owned by the investment company ATIC, which in turn belongs to the Mubadala fund of the government of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
GF’s roots go back to 2008: At that time, AMD announced that it would outsource its own production to “The Foundry Company”, for which ATIC was founded.
In 2009 this company was named Globalfoundries and began building the then huge “Fab 4X” (today’s Fab 8) in Malta, New York.
In 2010 Globalfoundries completed the takeover of the Singapore-based contract manufacturer Chartered Semi.
GF later took over several IBM fabs, but sold some and stopped developing its own 7-nanometer manufacturing technology. The latter led to a dispute with IBM and a US $ 2.5 billion claim for damages.
Fresh money for new fabs
The finest structures that GF has been able to manufacture to date are 12 nanometers. This production technology uses AMD, for example; it has so far only been available in Fab 8 in Malta. The finest structures from Dresden (Fab 1) measure 22 nanometers on silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafers (22FDX); GF is also working on 12FDX. GF offers a wide range of manufacturing processes that are currently in high demand, for example for automotive and high-frequency chips.
GF has announced investments of over $ 4 billion to expand the capacity of several plants. But compared to the gigantic amounts that TSMC, Samsung and Intel want to spend on more production capacity, the GF investments seem rather modest. The IPO should therefore also aim to raise fresh money for higher investments.
See also: “Scarce chips, huge investments” in the audio podcast Bit-Rauschen 2021/09: