Intel mulling new chip factory in Frankurt (Oder)

The US semiconductor manufacturer wants to build new plants in Europe. The city in eastern Brandenburg has a lengthy history in electronics. 

Frankfurt (Oder), the heart of Europe.
Frankfurt (Oder), the heart of Europe.dpa/Patrick Pleul

Berlin-A major industrial project might be in the cards for the Brandenburg city of Frankfurt (Oder). US chip-maker Intel is considering building a multi-billion euro plant in the city on the Polish border. This would be the second attempt after a simliar project failed to materialise in 2003.

Intel has announced that it is interested in investing in Europe. It's likely that the Silicon Valley giant is already negotiating with the EU over funding opportunities that would sweeten the deal. An investment sum of €20 billion is being thrown around, with possible subsidies amounting to €8 billion.

"Brandenburg is a possible location"

A local newspaper, the Märkische Oderzeitung, quoted Andreas Bilfinger, spokesman for the federal economic development agency German Trade & Invest (GTAI), as saying: "Brandenburg is a possible location for the development." He points out that other major US investors such as Tesla were also investing in eastern Brandenburg.

Tesla's Elon Musk is building his first European electric car plant in Grünheide. For Intel, the shift within the German car industry towards more e-mobility could make a production site in the country especially attractive.

A spokeswoman for the Potsdam Ministry of Economics told the Berliner Zeitung that the ministry had noted the GTAI's statements "with interest".

"The mere fact that Brandenburg is mentioned as a possible location in this context is already a success - and proof of how attractive the state is as a business location," the spokeswoman said. "Of course it would be a great thing if Intel were to settle in Brandenburg - but right now that's just like looking into a crystal ball."

Frankfurt mayor already in talks

But apparently talks are underway. Uwe Meier, spokesman for the city of Frankfurt (Oder), confirmed this was the case: "Our mayor René Wilke is already in discussions." However, he said, the decision on a possible European site had not yet reached the point where it was clear which country it would be.

"Should a decision be made in favour of Germany, Frankfurt (Oder) considers itself well prepared," said Meier. Frankfurt has several advantages: plenty of available commercial and industrial land; a decades-long tradition in microelectronics - it was home to a semiconductor plant in East German times; and research in the field is already being performed at the Leibniz Institute for High Performance Microelectronics. "Apart from that, we have a location in the heart of Europe," Meier added.

Intel's attempt to build a factory with the help of European subsidies and investors from Dubai failed back in 2003. The project didn't to meet the requirements for receiving billions in EU funding.

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