Intel spends $5bn on Leixlip for next wave of technology

Capital injection is aimed at preparing site for next-wave microchip technology

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with some of the construction workers on his tour of Intel today. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan

Taoiseach Enda Kenny with some of the construction workers on his tour of Intel today. Photograph: Marc O’Sullivan


Intel unexpectedly revealed today it had spent $5 billion over the past three years upgrading its Leixlip plant in Co Kildare.

The capital injection, aimed at preparing the site for the next wave microchip technology, represents the largest private investment in the history of the State.

Celebrating its 25 year anniversary in Ireland, the chip giant said the investment, made since 2011, secured the future of the plant and the 4,500 people directly employed there.

The ongoing work, which has led to the creation of 5,000 temporary construction jobs at the site, has seen a number of the plant’s silicon wafer fabrication plants (FAB) refurbished.

The investment is signficantly larger than the $500 million upgrade project announced in January 2011.

“To be a leading edge factory to Intel is a very prestigious position to be in,” said Intel president Renee James, adding that it made up a large proportion of Intel’s future.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the announcement as a “red letter day” for Ireland. “Companies invest when they have confidence in the workforce,” he said.

To date, Intel has invested $12.5 billion in Ireland, the largest private sector investment made in the country.

“The impact of that on the economy regionally has been almost the equivalent of €900 millionevery year over all the years that Intel has been here,” he said.

In its 25-year history in Ireland, the company has moved from pure manufacturing to research and development. Last year, the company unveiled its Quark chip, which is aimed at the wearable device market, and was designed and developed in Ireland.

In January, the firm unveiled its Edison device, which is a PC the size of a memory card, based on the Quark chip.

The Irish investment is far from the only big spend by Intel. Earlier this year, the company announced plans to invest $15 billion investment in its Israeli production facilities and is talking with the Israeli government over an investment that will last for greater than 10 years.

It also announced that month that it had put a hold on a new chip manufacturing facility at its site in Chandler, Arizona, leaving the new space available for unspecified future technology.