Intel is reportedly in advanced talks with asset management firm Apollo Global Management to help finance the construction of a chip fab in Ireland.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the deal, which could see Apollo stump up around $11 billion in financial support, could be finalized in a matter of weeks.

Intel Robert Noyce Building, Santa Clara, California
Intel’s headquarter facilities in Santa Clara, California – Intel

Citing sources familiar with the situation, the WSJ said Apollo was not the only investment firm Intel had approached, but had recently become the favorite to finance the project, with Goldman Sachs advising Intel on the transaction.

No information about where in Ireland the factory could be located or the type of semiconductors it would produce has been disclosed.

Intel already has an operating base in Ireland and currently employs 5,000 people across manufacturing sites in Leixlip, County Kildare, with an additional 300 workers based at a research and development facility in Shannon, County Clare.

Having carved out its Foundry business unit in March of this year, Intel has had something of a rocky start to 2024. In April, the company reported Intel Foundry had accrued $7 billion in operating losses in 2023, with the business reporting an additional $2.5bn operating loss during the first quarter of 2024, with year-on-year revenue down 10 percent for the unit.

Speaking when the results were published, CEO Pat Gelsinger said that the revenue decline for the Foundry unit was not unexpected and the company expected 2024 would see it post its biggest operating losses, before eventually breaking even in 2027.

Despite the downturn, Intel is plowing ahead with planned expansions to its chipmaking operations. In March, it was announced that Intel would receive $8.5 billion in direct funding, $11bn in low-interest rate loans, and a 25 percent investment tax credit on up to $100 billion of Intel’s capital investments under the Act, which will be used to support the company’s investments in Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, and Oregon.

In addition to the newly reported Irish fab, the company also has plans to build facilities in Germany and Malaysia.

Intel shakes up its Foundry leadership team

Yesterday, Intel announced a leadership change at Intel Foundry, appointing Kevin O’Buckley, former SVP at Marvell Technologies, as SVP and general manager of Foundry Services. The appointment makes O’Buckley a member of Intel’s executive leadership team and he will report to Gelsinger.

He replaces Stuart Pann, who has headed up the business unit since March 2023, but is retiring from Intel at the end of May after a 35-year stint at the company.

In a statement, Intel said: “O’Buckley will spearhead the growth of Intel’s foundry business and continue to build out its ecosystem of intellectual property and electronic design automation partners. In this role, O’Buckley will work closely with Intel Foundry’s other senior leaders to fulfill the company’s ambition to create the first system foundry for the AI era.”