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IBM shuts its Dublin hard disk plant

Well, it's already enjoyed Ireland's tax breaks

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Updated IBM is shutting its hard disk manufacturing plant at its technology campus in Dublin. Production is continuing until March.

The plant, part of the IBM Storage Technology Division (that's right, IBM has a STD), started manufacturing product just over two years ago. We are informed it was the most expensive building on the campus, with an 85,000 sq ft ballroom cleanroom.

Cynics suggest the rest of the divisions on the campus are there really just to take advantage of Ireland's low corporate tax rates.

Apparently, the plant suffered quality issues due to problems with introducing glass substrate disks for its desktop and server products. This, combined with a slow market in Q4 1999 and Q1 2000, resulted in lower volumes in the last year through the plant.

It sounds like IBM's parent plant in Mainz, Germany gets to benefit. Its future is secure; they should get a load of new tooling from Ireland, wired to CE rather than US standards.

The workforce got told about it yesterday, and HR people were handing out a list of options available to each employee. In a nice touch Arno Hebgen, the plant manager from Mainz, told the Dublin staff they were not "losers".

IBM did announce $100 million worth of funding for the campus in July 2000, which was to be spent over the following 12 months. The company declined to say how it was allocating the money. ®

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