SEMICONDUCTOR firm Globalfoundries is raising its production capacity in Singapore with a reduced workforce that could trim 300 employees from its headcount.

No timeframe was given for the job cuts but its general manager for the Singapore operations K C Ang told BT that the reduction will be across the board, "from operator all the way up to manager", and will include both local and foreign employees.

The move comes at the same time as the company's plans to expand Fab 7, one of its three wafer fabrication plants worldwide that makes the 300mm wafers. The target is to increase the company's annual capacity here to 1 million wafers of the 300mm type, from 600,000 now.

"While the company plans to expand its 300mm manufacturing base, it has decided to reduce the site workforce by approximately 300 employees - about 4 per cent of its Singapore employee base - due to the softening of the current macro-economic environment," Globalfoundries said.

"The company is working with several public and private manpower and outplacement agencies to assist the transition of those impacted to potential new employment opportunities."

Mr Ang explained that the expansion is possible with a reduced staff strength because of the highly automated nature of the manufacturing process in the production of 300mm fabs. The expansion will be carried out in phases, starting from the beginning of next year and is expected to be completed in mid 2014.

Globalfoundries declined to comment about the size of the investment, but said it would be in the range of "a few hundred million" dollars. It is part of Globalfoundries' Vision 2015 plan, which is to maintain "sustainable profitability in the future", according to Mr Ang, who is also senior vice-president of the firm. Globalfoundries' revenue this year is up by 34 per cent from last year, in spite of the slowdown in sales growth for the global semiconductor industry.

Other than Fab 7, Globalfoundries also has five other facilities in Singapore making the 200mm wafers. It currently hires about 7,000 employees.

"We are changing our product portfolio, changing our manufacturing footprint, we are addressing our cost structure. From a financial standpoint (this will) allow us to compete in a better position," added Mr Ang.