Alan Caulfield

March 23 2021 11:04 PM

Intel is to create 1,600 high-tech jobs at its Leixlip plant with construction of a new microchip manufacturing facility at the campus also employing 5,000 people during construction.

The US multinational unveiled its plans late last night among plans for major expansion throughout the globe.

Also revealing that the company had already invested $7bn in Ireland over the past three years, chief executive Pat Gelsinger said it was accelerating its investment in Europe and was supporting the EU’s ambition of having 20% of the world’s chips made locally.

“This investment is designed to bring Intel’s latest generation 7nanometre process technology to the region and expand our manufacturing operations. It will also drive economic growth in the region, creating 1,600 permanent high-tech jobs once complete and over 5,000 construction jobs,” Intel Ireland said in a statement.

“Furthermore, there will be additional opportunity for investment in the region.”

Eamonn Sinnott, general manager of Intel Ireland, said: “Since 1989, we have invested $15billion in current manufacturing capacity in Europe, ensuring that Intel is one of the largest and most advanced semiconductor manufacturing operations in the region.

“But we’re not stopping there. In an effort to more than double Intel’s available manufacturing space in Ireland and Europe, we have invested an additional $7 billion from 2019 to 2021 in an ongoing expansion.”

Intel has been in Ireland since 1989 and currently employs 5,000 people here, and another 5,000 in other European locations.

IDA chief executive, Martin Shanahan, said: “The scale of the investment and the number and types of jobs being created is a huge vote of confidence in the Leixlip campus and is testament to Intel’s continued commitment to Ireland.

“Furthermore, the company has signalled that there will be an opportunity for additional investment as it plans to announce another phase of expansions in locations including Europe in the next year.”

The Taoiseach also welcomed the announcement last night.

“Intel’s journey in Ireland has been an extraordinary one and these plans for the next phase of its development will enhance its reputation as a global leader in semiconductor innovation and manufacturing.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar described the news as fantastic and added that it was “another huge vote of confidence in Ireland’s future.”

Intel will also greatly expand its advanced chip manufacturing capacity as it spends as much as $20billion to build two factories in Arizona as well as its European operations, and to open up its factories to outside customers.

The move by CEO Pat Gelsinger on Tuesday aims to restore Intel’s reputation after technological missteps. The strategy will directly challenge the two other companies in the world that can make the most advanced chips, Taiwan’s Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) and Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

And it will also aim to tilt a technological balance of power back to the United States and Europe as government leaders on both continents have become concerned about the risks of a concentration of chipmaking in Taiwan given tensions with China.

Intel shares rose 2.5% after the company disclosed its new strategy. Some investors such as Third Point LLC had previously urged Intel to consider spinning off its costly chip manufacturing operations after delays sent shares plunging last year.

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