Europa | Europe
miércoles 04 de mayo de 2022
Microchip and semiconductor PERTE conversations started
Associations and companies have met with the government to establish the first approaches to set the project on track to recover the microchip industry in Spain.
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The project to attract investment in the manufacture of semiconductors and related technologies, which will be endowed with 11 billion euros financed by European funds, is beginning to take shape.

Announced some time ago by the president of the central government, Pedro Sánchez, the microchip and semiconductor PERTE has held its first meetings to start drawing it up.

So says Renato Turchetta, CEO of Imasenic and vice-president of the Spanish Semiconductor Industry Association (AESEMI).

«We are starting to have meetings, there are not many details yet, we are starting to meet with different political representatives,» he told Portal Movilidad España.

To this, the CEO adds that «there is a lot of enthusiasm in this PERTE» and there is «joy» in being able to work and help the whole sector in this development.

The shortage of semiconductors led to a supply crisis that slowed down the recovery of the global economy after the pandemic shock.

In addition, the war in Ukraine following the Russian invasion has further complicated this scenario given the export weight of these countries on certain key raw materials such as argon and neon, which are used in the production of semiconductors.

Moreover, it has been almost 30 years since Europe gave up semiconductor manufacturing and moved towards an import model from Asia.

Turchetta says that «Europe in general needs to be more independent in production», which currently accounts for only 10% of total semiconductor production.

About 20 years ago, the continent was at 20% production, so what the European Commission and Spain are aiming to do is to generate that lost part of the industry again.

«What we want to do in Europe is to reach 20% in 10 years, looking at 2030,» says the AESEMI vice-president.

Semiconductor and microchip companies represent a big investment when it comes to setting up new factories and the time it takes for these to be installed.

That is why Turchetta says that «it is very important that there is recognition for this industrial sector».

«We continue to work with the government for proposals for support and funding to be the most useful, coordinated and well managed,» he says.

The microchip crisis: the current state of play

Since the pandemic, the semiconductor and microchip sector has been affected in its production.

What happened? Before the restrictions were lifted and the companies’ staff could return to work, there were months of non-production.

In the case of cars, which had been put out of use because of the pandemic, after the openings, orders began to pile up on a large scale.

But this was not a «major drawback for the automotive sector», explains Turchetta, CEO of Imasenic.

«Nobody was buying cars then the whole industry was buying cars for semiconductor component orders because there was no need,» he says, continuing that «once the lock-in was closed and everybody wanted to buy cars».

The demand was very high for components, but «the automotive industry is quite small in terms of semiconductors».

It represents a total of 1 to 2 per cent. «So the manufacturing lines are supplemented with other products,» says the CEO of Imasenic and vice president of AESEMI.