Israel may have beaten Ireland in race for €4bn investment by Intel
Intel is to invest €4bn in a new state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Israel. The move could signal the company has picked Israel over Ireland for the production of a key next-generation chip.
Intel employs 4,500 people in Ireland along with a further 5,000 construction workers in Leixlip, Co Kildare at present.
While the company has not yet confirmed the scale of its new Israeli investment, Israel's economic minister, Naftali Bennett, told 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 $6bn."
Bennett said that the company had assured his government that Intel 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.
A spokesman for Intel Ireland was unavailable for comment on the news.
Intel recently revealed that it has spent $5bn (€3.6bn) in the last 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 a new processor line for small devices would be designed in its Leixlip facility.
The company also announced that it has invested €9.1bn in the facility over the last 25 years, which now employs 9,500 people.
In March, Intel president Renee James said that the company intended to make the Leixlip campus Intel's "leading edge" facility.
"We have a fabulous relationship with Ireland," she said. "To be considered leading edge within Intel is prestigious."
Intel's country manager, Eamon Sinnott, said that the Leixlip facility is gearing up for "the next 25 years" and was in a "prime position" to win further investment from Intel when it arises.
"I've never been more confident in our future here than I am today," he said. "When you look at the facility that we've developed here, we will remain in pole position to continue our track record of the past 25 years."
In January 2013, the company secured planning permission for a further facility in Ireland.