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GlobalFoundries keeps lid on chip fab deal

GlobalFoundries has asked local government officials to withhold details of a taxpayer-funded deal to upgrade a chip fabrication plant in the upstate New York town of Malta.

The chip maker is to receive $650 million in public funds towards the $4.2 billion project, and must submit the invoices every quarter to have its building costs reimbursed.

So far, GlobalFoundries has received $108 million. A further $57 million is due next month.

Last month, local newspaper the Times Union submitted a freedom of information request to see the invoices GlobalFoundries had submitted to the area's economic development body, the Empire State Development Corp.

GlobalFoundries marked parts of the documents requested as 'confidential', and demanded that ESDC withhold them, saying that the information they contained would reveal trade secrets.

In a letter to the paper written on 28 May, ESDC Records Access Officer Antovk Pidedjian said GlobalFoundries had "demonstrated sufficient legal grounds to warrant" keeping secret all details of "expenses related to method, composition and construction" of the factory.

GlobalFoundries spokesman Travis Bullard said the company wants to reveal as much information about the project as possible, but says it fears that revealing specific details about its arrangements with subcontractors could "give competitors an unfair advantage".

The company may also be concerned that costs could increase, with subcontractors able to discover how much other firms had been paid for previous work.

GlobalFoundries plans to make the 'Fab 8' larger than originally anticipated, adding a further 90,000 square feet of space at a cost of $75 million - $15.8 million of which has been pledged by the State.