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Intel will 'focus' less on buying back company stock -CEO

NEW YORK, May 2 (Reuters) - The chief executive of the biggest U.S. chip-maker, Intel Corp, said the company is going to curb its focus on buying back its own stock.

“We will not be anywhere near as focused on buybacks going forward as we have in the past,” Intel Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger said in an interview on the CBS news magazine “60 Minutes” to air on Sunday night.

Gelsinger’s comments were in response to a question comparing how much Intel has spent buying its own stock compared to its investment in research and development.

A global shortage of semiconductor chips, critical in cars, laptops and other major consumer products, has put a spotlight on Intel, the only major U.S. chip manufacturer.

In the first quarter, Intel spent $2.3 billion on share repurchases, according to Bloomberg, which first reported Gelsinger’s comments.

The new CEO said in March that Intel will spend up to $20 billion to build two new factories in Arizona, greatly expanding its advanced chip manufacturing capacity. The majority of chips are currently produced in Asia.

According to a transcript of the “60 Minutes” interview, Gelsinger said Intel is also planning to reconfigure some factories to make chips for cars. Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and other automakers have cut production due to the shortage.

Intel’s board of directors support the move to curtail stock buybacks, Gelsinger said. (Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts Marshall; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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