SemIndia seeks to allay apprehensions over Fab City

Wednesday, 25 April 2007, 07:00 Hrs
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Hyderabad: Allaying apprehensions over Fab City, the proposed $3 billion semiconductor manufacturing hub here, its developer SemIndia Inc Wednesday said it was waiting for the transfer of land by the Andhra Pradesh government to begin the work.

With the opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) raising doubts about the ability of the company to build the project, SemIndia president and CEO Vinod Agarwal rushed here from the US on the direction of the state government to clarify the doubts.

Addressing a news conference, Agarwal blamed the government for the delay in launching the project work. Stating that he was keen to set up India's first Fab manufacturing facility here, he said he was waiting for the government to issue an order, transferring land, specifying government's equity in the Fab City Special Purpose Vehicle and fixing electricity and water tariff.

Claiming that SemIndia and its partners had already spent millions of rupees in fencing the land even without a formal transfer from the government to get the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status and to seek environmental approval, Agarwal said his company was sincere in taking up the project.

Stating that apprehensions expressed about SemIndia and the project had sent wrong signals to investors, Agarwal said other states had approached him in the wake of recent developments. "Many states wanted us to set up similar facilities but we came here. They are calling us again. We want to remain here but we may have to rethink if the project does not take off," he said.

Agwaral, who met Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy Tuesday, said the government assured that the project would be speeded up and it will come through.

He claimed that the work on the assembly and test plant was in advance stage and the design of the building was ready. The construction of the building is expected to be completed by end of next year while the production is expected to start by end of 2009.

The state government had announced allotment of 1,200 acres of land for the project last year. Out of this, 300 acres of land were allotted for the first phase of Fab City. He said SemIndia planned to build assembly and test plant on 25 acres of land at a cost of $100 million. The $3 billion Fab unit will come up on 75 acres of land in two phases. The first phase will cost $1 billion while the second phase will see an investment of $2 billion.

He said though the government of India last month announced a policy for semiconductor industry, the investors were waiting for the guidelines. He said SemIndia would apply for incentives under the policy and urged the central government to take equity in the proposed Fab unit here.

Agarwal said SemIndia had already started global acquisitions for the project and claimed to have received commitments from various investors. "Our dream is to make Hyderabad another Taiwan and generate $32 billion of chip exports out of here," he said.

Denying that he was interested in land development, Agarwal said he was only keen to provide necessary infrastructure to attract investors for semiconductor manufacturing and suppliers.

"No investor declares his net worth," he said in an obvious reference to the TDP's statement questioning his net worth. He also said since investors were private holding companies, they will not share information about equity. He, however, said SemIndia was incorporated in the US on Sep 12, 2005 and he was working in the industry for last 35 years.

Agarwal said India had tremendous potential in chip manufacturing as the consumption of electronics was expected to reach $300 billion by 2015. He said if Fab City comes through the country could manufacture $40 billion worth of chips which otherwise it would be importing.
Source: IANS
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