Advanced Micro Devices representatives were expecting to have good news for the Town of Malta Planning Board on Tuesday, Feb. 10, when they met in the first of many discussions of the recently filed site plan for a $4.6 billion manufacturing facility at the Luther Forest Technology Campus. But a special meeting of shareholders in Austin, Texas, earlier that day hit a snag when there was no quorum.
Only 41.7 percent of shareholders were present or had voted by proxy. The vote to accept Arab investments and clear the way for formation of the Foundry Company which is to build and run the Malta plant was rescheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 18.
According to AMD, 97 percent of the votes cast were in the affirmative.
`Everything is very positive, but we didn’t have enough of those positives,` said AMD’s Director of Global Environmental Health and Safety Steve Groseclose, at the Feb. 10 meeting.
The company’s shareholders were voting on $6 billion in foreign investments from Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Investment Company and Mubadala Development Company. That would clear the way for AMD to spin off its manufacturing capabilities to the Foundry Company as part of the chipmaker’s `asset light` strategy aimed at reversing its economic downward spiral.
Part of that approach involves doing manufacturing for companies without plants like Fab 4x, the facility’s code name. Despite a retracting high-tech market, Groseclose said such a strategy is still viable.
`The world around us has changed since we first talked about this, but we’re moving ahead,` he said. `We see a long-term market demand for what we are going to do in this facility.`
AMD hopes that by next week, they can get more than half of the shareholders to cast a vote.
`At that meeting we will work to make sure that we have a quorum of the voters and continue to move forward and have shareholder approval,` said AMD’s Harry Wolin, who chaired the abbreviated shareholder meeting
AMD stock tumbled on news of the delay, but it recovered to close at $2.11, down a quarter.
The company’s representatives assured the Malta Planning Board that the hiccup will not affect the timeline for the construction of Fab 4x. They hope to move through the site plan approval process in steps, starting with a soil disturbance permit that could be approved at a March 10 meeting, clearing the way for `site enabling clearing works` to begin in late March.
That will involve the clearing of vegetation, leveling of the site, construction of temporary parking lots and offices and the placement of preliminary building platforms.
This initial work should only require 75 to 100 workers. When the pouring of concrete and foundation construction begins in the third quarter, that number will increase to 400 and continue to rise until as many as 1,200 workers are on site in early 2010.
Construction traffic will arrive via Stone Break Road. Most of the excavated dirt will be kept on the 222-acre property for grading purposes, which will limit the amount of truck traffic. Trucks will use Northway Exit 10 to avoid the Village of Round Lake.
Fab 4x will total about 1.3-million-square-feet, most of which will be comprised of the manufacturing element. There will also be administrative offices and other support buildings. The site plan leaves room for two other such facilities, to eventually be arranged in a massive `W.`
Malta’s Planning Board will be devoting two meetings per month to work through the site plan, which is housed in 6-inch thick binders. If all goes according to plan, the factory will be active in 2012, at which time it will employ 1,465.“