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ADAG hires former AMD head for semiconductor business
May, 31st 2008

The Reliance Mukesh Ambani group has hired the former head of chipmaker AMDs business in India, Ajay Marathe, for its semiconductor foray. After quitting AMD, Mr Marathe had moved to SemIndia. He is learnt to have joined as CEO of the semiconductor business.

Industry sources confirmed that Mr Marathe had moved to Reliance about a month back, when the group started working on plans for its fab business. No official confirmation was available. We will not like to comment on the groups semiconductor (business) at this point of time, a group spokesperson said.

AMD is chipmaker giant Intels closest and most long-standing rival. Mr Marathe is credited with having set up its India operations six years ago helping it get even with Intel, which already had a presence in India by setting up business development offices in Bangalore and design and software facilities in Hyderabad.

 In addition to having experience in setting up a new business, Mr Marathe is a semiconductor industry veteran having spent over 20 years with AMD. Officials familiar with development said Mr Marathe would be CEO of the groups semiconductor business, while K V Subramaniam, president and group CEO of Reliance Life Sciences, would strategise and interact with the Reliance group corporate strategy in the early stages.

Mr Marathe relocated to Sunnyvale, California, sometime back. It is not clear if he will return to India when Reliances fab venture takes off.

As of now, the semiconductor plans are still in a very nascent stage although news reports have indicated that its scale is quite ambitious. The groups planned investment is reported to be in the region of around Rs 30,000 crore, and according to a financial proposal submitted to avail of the subsidy under the semiconductor policy, it intends to set up two units. One of the units is to located at Jamnagar, where it has its refinery, and the other is at a location to be finalised between Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Haryana.

Under the semiconductor policy notified in March 2007, a unit can claim incentives in the form of capital subsidy or equity participation up to 26%. The incentives will be restricted to two to three fab units. Reliance has reportedly asked for a capital subsidy of over Rs 5,600 crore for the two units it has proposed.

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