Leuven, Belgium, November 17, 2003. With the financial support of the European Investment Bank (EIB), Fortis Bank signed a EUR 46.8 million loan agreement with IMEC to finance the construction of a 300mm research facility at IMEC, Europe's largest independent micro- and nanoelectronics research center.
To enable the construction of this major project, which includes a clean room, a central utility building and an office building, a further EUR 37.2 million was previously advanced by the Flemish Government in November 2002.
The EUR 46.8 million loan was planned by Fortis Bank earlier this year. Using a facility that the European long-term financing institution EIB offers to Belgian banks for projects in the area of innovation, EIB created the opportunity for Fortis to refinance IMEC's loan by means of a favorable credit facility. The loan is covered by a guarantee by the Flemish Government.
The new clean room will enable IMEC to maintain its worldwide leading role in research in the field of nano-scaled technologies. The construction of the clean room involves an investment of 84 million euro. The grant of EUR 37.184 million from the Flemish Government and positive signals from the industry worldwide to continue collaboration with IMEC in pioneering research for the 300mm era resulted in the start of the construction of the new research facility in February 2003. The technical infrastructure will be complete in April 2004, ready for the installation of the research equipment.
Meanwhile, IMEC has concluded partnerships with five of the world's leading semiconductor manufacturers, Infineon, Intel, Philips, Samsung Electronics and STMicroelectronics, who will actively participate in IMEC research programs that target technology generations four to six years ahead of current state-of-the-art IC production. These programs will gradually evolve from 200mm to 300mm wafers in IMEC's new research facility. Letters of intent with several leading equipment manufacturers have been signed to deliver the latest process tools.
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