Friday 19 January 2018

Intel to invest €4bn in new state-of-the-art chip plant in Israel

Intel Ireland will be watching closely as parent decides where to produce new next-generation processor

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Intel president Renee James at the firm’s plant in Leixlip, Co Kildare. Photo: Damien Eagers
Taoiseach Enda Kenny with Intel president Renee James at the firm’s plant in Leixlip, Co Kildare. Photo: Damien Eagers
Intel's Leixlip plant
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Intel is to invest €4bn in a new state-of-the-art chip plant in Israel, in a move that could signal the company has opted for its Israeli operations over its 4,500-strong Irish base for the production of its key next-generation processor.

While the company has not yet confirmed the scale of upgrading its Israeli manufacturing facility, Israel’s economic minister, Naftali Bennett, has told Israeli media that the company would be spending close to $6bn (€4.3bn) in the process.

“We competed with the whole world and Intel chose us,” said Bennett. “In the next few days, Intel will submit a business plan for immediate and direct investments of $6 billion.”

The government minister said that the company has assured the Israeli government that it was committed to remaining in Israel until 2030. He said that the new investment would result in between 800 and 1,000 jobs at Intel’s Israel facility, which already employs over 9,000 people.

A spokesman for Intel Ireland was unavailable to comment on the news.

Intel recently revealed that it has spend $5bn (€3.6bn) in the past three years upgrading its Irish plant. The company has not yet revealed what the updated plant will manufacture.

However, the news of future Israeli investment will raise speculation that it is Israel that has won the race to manufacture the company’s new 10-nanometre technology, seen as the core product in the company’s immediate future.

Ireland, Israel and the US had been pegged in a three way race to win new investment from the chip company.

Late last year, Intel announced that a new processor line for small devices would be designed in its Leixlip facility. The company also announced in March that it had spent €3.6bn on upgrading its Irish operations in the last three years. Intel has not yet said what the updated Irish facilities will produce when they begin production at the end of this year.

In addition to its workforce of 4,500, Intel currently employs almost 5,000 construction workers at its Leixlip facility.


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