Intel talks to TechEye on $500 million Irish investment

Intel has confirmed that it will be investing $500 million in the Intel Ireland Leixlip campus, leading to the creation of 850 construction jobs and 200 permanent technical roles.

Following the announcement by Intel that it had recorded the best year in its 42 year history, with quarterly revenues of $11.5 billion, it was said that the firm will invest $9bn in production capacity in 2011 – with Intel Ireland being a beneficiary of the expected outlay.

Brendan Cannon, Corporate Affairs Manager at Intel Ireland, told TechEye that one of the main elements of the investment will be to upgrade a facility that had been left as an expensive husk, with all equipment taken out from a 200mm fab, up to a 300mm facility.

“Of the four facilities in total there are currently two active 300mm fabs, and the investment will mean that another will be upgraded to this level,” Cannon said. “Though there are no plans as yet, the currently active 200mm fab could also be upgraded in the future in line with Intel’s commitment to cutting edge technology.”

Cannon told TechEye that while the plant has been focused on 90nm and 65nm processes in the past, the next step will be to move to more advanced technologies.

“Although we have no deadline for finding out, we expect to know more of what the plant will focus on in the next couple of months,” he said.

“We have been using 90nm and 65nm processes in the past, and what we do know for sure is that we will be implementing future technologies following this investment. We are looking forward to operating using cutting edge production techniques, something we have not been able to do for some time.”

The news is all the more welcome as the Leixlip site was where 300 staff were laid off after the closure of one of the facilities, a facility which will be upgraded as part of the investment.

Taoiseach Brian Cowen noted the good news in describing the “significant investment” as “a watershed moment in Intel’s relationship with Ireland”. He went to tell the Irish Times that it was “a great vote of confidence, from one of the world’s leading technology companies, in both the Irish economy and the quality of Intel’s Irish workforce.”

Meanwhile Barry O’Leary, CEO of IDA Ireland, the government agency responsible for industrial development, also highlighted the importance of the investment.

“The fact that a global leader such as Intel, which has already invested close to $7bn in Ireland, has chosen to invest a further $500m here is an enormous vote of confidence and endorsement  of Ireland as a competitive location for global investment,” O’Leary said.