Xilinx buys young design services firm


Xilinx, the programmable logic design company which employs 250 people at Citywest, Dublin, has acquired Integral Design, a Dublin design services company.

The value of the acquisition has not been disclosed, but Xilinx has said the purchase is not expected to have a material effect on its financial results. Integral, the privately-held design services company, is based in Sandyford and employs 40 hardware and software engineers.

It was founded five years ago by Mr Joe Knox and Mr Lionel Barker. The employees hold a 20 per cent stake in the business, while Enterprise Ireland retains a 10 per cent conversion right until 2001.

Mr Knox will now take on the role of director of design services Europe with Xilinx, while all of Integral's employees have accepted positions within Xilinx Ireland's professional design services division. They will relocate to Xilinx's Citywest facility over the next year.

Integral Design specialises in developing products for systems, embedded software and integrated circuit design. It already provides outsourced services to a range of multinational companies.

"The purchase of Integral Design is another example of our commitment to expand our global presence, enhance service at our site in Ireland and help Xilinx customers reduce their product development time," said Mr Wim Roelandts, Xilinx president and chief executive.

Xilinx has also struck a unique agreement with Belfast-based Integrated Silicon Systems (ISS). It marks the first time Xilinx has agreed with any third party to incorporate its intellectual property (IP) core products into Xilinx products, and identifies ISS as an emerging force in the highly lucrative IP core design market.

The Xilinx decision to choose ISS's cores for its programmable chips will significantly boost the Belfast company's revenues by guaranteeing a revenue stream from Xilinx. It is understood the first phase of the deal is worth more than $1 million (€1.05 million) to ISS. ISS has grown rapidly in the last two years and now employs 40 specialist design engineers. Last year it received $5 million in first round funding from APAX and the Enterprise Equity fund. The company is believed to be about to begin a second round of fund-raising.

Xilinx said it chose to bring ISS's intellectual property cores into its own product family because of their popularity. Instead of internally developing the cores for its own uses, Xilinx chose to license the cores from ISS. Under the arrangement, Xilinx will sell ISS cores under its own brand name but, through a co-branding agreement, the products will be marked as "Powered by ISS" or some similar arrangement.

Xilinx designs and produces highly complex semiconductor chips capable of being programmed individually for use in a wide range of electronic systems.

It is one of the world's leading providers of such systems, employing more than 2,000 people worldwide. It recently recorded annual sales of $1.02 billion for 2000, a 54 per cent increase on the previous year. Xilinx Ireland is already understood to be planning a major expansion at Citywest, which could see its workforce increase to more than 1,200 employees before the end of this year. It has opened negotiations with IDA Ireland for further large scale projects at the plant and received planning permission in March from South Dublin County Council for a 238,642 sq ft site. Xilinx has refused to comment on the possible expansion.