Is the country still on track for a major new Intel investment? In September, its CEO Pat Gelsinger said Republic – where the company is based in Europe in Lexlip, Co Kildare – had submitted several proposals out of « about 70 » received from across Europe. The chip maker plans two new European manufacturing plants and plans to announce their location by the end of 2021.
The plans come just months after the company confirmed it would create 1,600 new jobs and double the manufacturing space in its existing Irish operation as part of a $7 billion (6 billion euro) investment — good news in itself. But this next tranche of investment will be even bigger, as the US tech giant plans to pump up to €80 billion into European capacity over the next decade with the goal of achieving geographic rebalancing in the global business of semiconductor production.
Intel wants to avoid the kind of supply shortages that are currently forcing car manufacturers to lower their production targets, with a fair chance of obligating smartphone makers to do the same.
But with its official decision looming, the competition appears to be on the fierce side, with Reuters reporting that Italy is making a bid to persuade Intel to set up an « advanced packaging » plant there, while Germany’s automaker Dresden has emerged as the frontrunner to house an even bigger mega plant.
Sources told Reuters that the Italian government is ready to finance part of the overall investment with public funds and to offer Intel other favorable terms, including labor and energy costs.
However, Poland has been chosen as Italy’s alternative destination for the « encapsulation » facility, which will allow Intel to mix and match « tiles » into whole chips, while France is said to be competing aggressively with Germany for the mega plant.
Based on the latest measurements, the Republic may have to wait its turn. Of course, the sight of so many countries dropping themselves to score big points with Intel, meanwhile, would make the chipmaker very happy.
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