The only European manufacturer of high-end printed circuit boards and integrated circuit substrates is set to expand its research activities at its headquarters in Leoben.
The EIB loan will support research and development and help finance the construction of a new research centre for connectors used in microchip production.
The European Investment Bank is granting a €250 million loan to the microelectronics specialist AT&S (Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG). Listed on the Vienna stock exchange, the loan will go towards the company’s research and development activities and help finance the construction of a new research centre at its headquarters in Leoben.
AT&S is one of the leading manufacturers of high-end printed circuit boards and integrated circuit substrates (also known as IC substrates), and the only one in Europe in an industry dominated by Asian companies. Modern microchips like the processors in smartphones and computers and the cores in modern graphics cards contain billions of transistors packed into the smallest possible space. IC substrates connect the tiny inputs and outputs of powerful microchips to the much larger structures on printed circuit boards. They create a bridge between the nanoworld of semiconductors and the microworld of printed circuit boards.
Today, IC substrates are found in the housings of almost all high-performance microchips, which are essential for smartphones, PCs, 5G networks, supercomputers, 3D scanners, servers, AI applications and more. They are crucial for all forms of data transfer, data analysis and data storage.
At an EU level, the new centre of expertise in Leoben will help the European Union to achieve digital autonomy, a priority under the European Chips Act. The goal is to create a chip ecosystem to ensure Europe’s security of supply in microchips and to strengthen its digital technology production capabilities.
EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros, who oversees financing in Austria, says: “We are proud to support AT&S, a highly innovative company that is key to achieving digital autonomy in Europe. The Leoben research centre, in collaboration with universities and research institutions, will serve to develop knowledge within the industry.”
According to AT&S Chief Executive Officer Andreas Gerstenmayer, “AT&S’s new R&D centre will make a significant contribution to Europe’s competitiveness in the field of microelectronics, in line with the European Chips Act. This centre of expertise for IC substrates and microelectronics packaging being built in Austria is the only one of its kind in Europe. This investment will serve AT&S customers in the high-end semiconductor sector as well as international research institutions. It will be a major regional development project and also create many appealing jobs.”
The EIB’skey priorities are climate and the environment, development, innovation and skills, small and medium-sized businesses, infrastructure and cohesion. It works closely with other EU institutions to foster European integration, promote the development of the European Union and support EU policies in more than 140 countries worldwide.
AT&S — Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG is a leading global manufacturer of high-end printed circuit boards and IC substrates. It industrialises cutting-edge technology for its core business segments (Mobile Devices & Substrates, and Automotive, Industrial and Medical). AT&S has a global presence with production sites in Austria (Leoben and Fehring) and plants in India (Nanjangud), China (Shanghai and Chongqing) and South Korea (Ansan, near Seoul). A new high-end production facility for IC substrates is currently being built in Kulim, Malaysia. Meanwhile, a European centre of expertise with integrated series production for IC substrate technology is being built in Leoben. The company employs around 15 000 people.
This project concerns the promoter's RDI expenses in Austria in the fields of IC Substrates and Packaging technology including prototyping, pilot line and small scale production line, as well as Capex for the construction of its new research competence center in Leoben (AUT).
The project financed covers the full product development cycle from technology platform research to design. It will be carried out over three years at ST’s sites in Rousset, Crolles, Grenoble and Tours (France). The research is particularly aimed at developing new mobile applications using powerful autonomous fuel cells. As well as IT and telecoms, the industrial and automotive sectors are expected to be major beneficiaries.