Infineon opens Austrian power-chip plant ahead of schedule

FILE PHOTO: The logo of semiconductor manufacturer Infineon is seen in Villach, Austria, June 3, 2018. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner/File Photo

VILLACH, Austria (Reuters) - Infineon Technologies opened a 1.6 billion euro ($1.9 billion) plant in Austria on Friday, boosting the German semiconductor company's ability to supply power chips for cars, datacenters and renewable power generation.

The plant in Villach, ready three months early, will make chips on 300 mm wafers thinner than a human hair, operating in tandem as a 'megafab' with an existing plant in Dresden, Germany and adding up to 2 billion euros a year in revenues.

"The new plant is a milestone for Infineon and its opening is very good news for our customers," CEO Feinhard Ploss told an opening ceremony attended by Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and EU Commissioner Thierry Breton.

"Our timing in adding new capacity couldn't be better, considering growing demand for power-management semiconductors," added Ploss.

Infineon is adding capacity at a time when global semiconductor supply chains are under extreme stress, with most leading carmakers being forced to idle production due to chip shortages.

Munich-based Infineon, the leading supplier to the auto industry, has itself faced problems meeting delivery commitments after a winter storm knocked out a plant in the United States and coronavirus lockdowns disrupted operations in Malaysia.

The extra production of specialist power chips in Villach will serve growing demand for electric vehicles, datacenters and wind- and solar-power facilities. But it won't immediately help ease the broader semiconductor crunch, say analysts.

($1 = 0.8490 euros)

(Reporting by Alexandra Schwarz-Goerlich, Writing by Douglas Busvine)

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