Intel files plans for £6.2b Leixlip fab expansion

February 11, 2019 | 10:33

Tags: #chip-shortage #co-kildaire #fab #ireland #israel #kiryat-gat #leixlip #oregon #semiconductor

Companies: #intel #irish-government

The Irish string of Intel's planned tripartite global manufacturing expansion appears to have been confirmed as a £6.2 billion investment in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, according to documents filed with Kildare County Council.

Intel, in as much as can be said for a company with a gross margin hovering around the 60 percent mark, is struggling a little bit: The long delay to its 10nm platform, which it absolutely assures investors and customers is fully resolved with volume shipments planned by the end of the year, has had a knock-on effect in its manufacturing roadmap. The result: Intel is currently struggling to meet demand for its chips, choosing to leave those buying high-volume low-margin parts hanging in order to dedicate fabs to higher-margin lower-volume chips while simultaneously relaunching one of its chipsets on an older process node to free yet more capacity further up the chain.

The company already has a plan for resolving this: Expansions for existing facilities, which it had previously hinted would be made through investment in Israel, the US, and Ireland. So far, the company has only publicly confirmed its Oregon and Kiryat Gat expansions, but a filing with the Kildare County Council spotted by local outlet The Irish Times seems to tie the company's interest down to its Leixlip facility.

In the planning documents, Intel proposes to add a further 110,000 square metres to a facility which was only granted permission for 90,000 square metres in late 2017 - bringing its total size to a whopping 200,000 square metres, to include a dedicated support building. The investment, totalling £6.2 million for the latest phase alone, would include both the construction of the facility and related infrastructure improvements, including a widening of a nearby road, the construction of additional parking, and the operation of shuttlebus services from Celbridge, Maynooth, Lucan, and Leixlip proper to and from the facility. The company has also pledged to plant 6,000 trees and 12,000 shrubs on the facility as a way of compensating for the removal of 275 metres of protected hedgerows and 2.5 hectares of woodland.

The detailed planning documents suggest that, permission pending, the expansion is a done deal, though an Intel Ireland general manager Eamonn Sinnot had previously told the paper that any such expansions are 'subject to change based on business, economic, and other factors'.

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