Austria's AT&S plans $2 billion investment in Malaysian plant

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KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Austria-headquartered semiconductor manufacturer AT&S Austria Technologie & Systemtechnik AG plans to invest 8.5 billion ringgit ($2 billion) to set up a production plant in Malaysia, its first in Southeast Asian, Malaysia's International Trade and Industry Ministry said on Thursday.

Construction of the facility in Kulim Hi-Tech Park in the northern state of Kedah, is scheduled to begin in the second half of this year and commercial operations are targeted to commence in 2024, the ministry said in a statement.

"Besides manufacturing of high-tech products, a significant amount of R&D activities will be executed at this new location," AT&S Chief Executive Officer Andreas Gerstenmayer said.

AT&S, which makes high-end printed circuit boards and integrated circuit substrates used in mobile devices, industrial electronics, automotive applications as well as medical and health technology, has production facilities in Austria, India, China and South Korea.

Malaysia has a mature electrical and electronics manufacturing sector that supplies to big names including Apple Inc. Exports from the sector make up about 40% of its total annual exports and approximately 7% of global semiconductor trade, according to the government.

"AT&S' footprint in Malaysia will also further boost the development of our semiconductor ecosystem, enable opportunities for our local vendors in the field of advanced electronics and spur high-tech employment for Malaysians," Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said.

($1 = 4.1170 ringgit)

(Reporting by Liz Lee; Editing by Robert Birsel)

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