Intel says no final decision yet on future European investments

Reports suggest the Republic has lost out to Germany, Italy and France on €80bn spend

Chipmaker Intel has stressed that it has made no final decision regarding future investments as media reports suggest the Republic has lost out on a planned €80 billion spend by the company.

Intel, which earlier this year confirmed plans to create 1,600 new jobs as part of a $7 billion (€6.2 billion) investment that sees it doubling the manufacturing space at its existing Irish operation, has said it intends to announce the location of new plants shortly.

The company's chief executive Pat Gelsinger told The Irish Times on a visit to Intel's Leixlip campus in September that the State was in the running to land the €80 billion investment.

However, Bloomberg on Thursday, citing people familiar with negotiations, said the company's push to increase capacity will see it adding facilities in France and Italy, as well as putting a major production site in Germany.

The new plants Intel is planning are part of a drive to build cutting-edge manufacturing capacity in Europe to help avoid future supply shortages of the kind currently crippling the automotive industry.

Bloomberg said France will be home to a research and design centre and Italy will be the location of a test and assembly factory. The main wafer fabrication plant, or fab, will likely be built in Germany, Bloomberg reported.

The company said, however, that no final decisions have been agreed.

‘Investment conversations’

“Intel executives are having constructive investment conversations with government leaders in multiple EU countries. We are encouraged by the many possibilities to support the EU’s digital agenda and 2030 semiconductor ambitions,” it said.

“While current negotiations are ongoing and confidential, we plan to make an announcement as soon as possible,” the chipmaker added.

While Mr Gelsinger signalled that the Republic was in the running to land the new investment, it is believed that the company has been concerned about delays in the Irish planning system and the rising number of judicial review cases being taken against planning decisions.

Intel’s plans for its Leixlip site have been subject of a number of planning appeals and judicial reviews over the past 10 years.

It is believed IDA Ireland has pitched a site in Oranmore, Co Galway, as a possible location for a new plant that would lead to the creation of up to 10,000 new jobs.

Mr Gelsinger told The Irish Times in September that even if the Republic doesn’t secure the new investment, the State will gain from the company’s move to increase chip capacity in Europe generally.

Intel first established operations in the Republic in 1989. It employs about 5,000 people locally. – Additional reporting: Bloomberg