Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic) has delayed the construction of its planned $6bn microchip plant in the emirate.

The fabrication plant, or fab, has been delayed due to the prevailing market conditions in the microchip sector. The US’s Intel has put a number of its planned facilities on hold which in turn has delayed the fab in Abu Dhabi.

Sources say that Intel’s Dalian plant in China would use components from the Abu Dhabi plant. It has been put on hold, meaning the viability of the plant is now being questioned.

When constructed the fab will be managed and run by the Atic subsidiary Globalfoundries. The company confirmed the delay when contacted by MEED.

“Globalfoundries is committed to establishing a manufacturing and technology presence in Abu Dhabi, but it hasn’t established a concrete timeline or announced specific details about the facility,” says a Globalfoundries spokesman.

The company spokesman adds that the new capacity due to come on stream in New York and Dresden will not be affected.

While Globalfoundries remain tight-lipped on timelines, contractors expect the project to move forward in 2012.

“The project is delayed, not on hold,” says a contracting source based in Abu Dhabi. “We were told to expect tenders next year for construction work.”

MEED reported in May that Germany’s M+W Group had been awarded the design and build contract for the project (MEED 20:5:11).

The German firm is one of the market leaders in clean-room design-and-build projects and has built all of Globalfoundries’ previous facilities, including the New York plant.

As for the civil works, steel erecting, clean-room assembling, equipment installation and utilities contracts, several high-profile engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractors are interested in bidding.

Globalfoundries is 97 per cent owned by Atic with Atic being wholly owned by the Abu Dhabi government controlled Mubadala Development Company.