Intel delays $2bn Irish fab upgrade

Didn't Craig Barrett say this was a bad idea?

Intel has pulled the plug on the $2 billion expansion of its Leixlip, Ireland plant - for now at least.

Chipzilla blames the sharp downturn in the semiconductor market for the decision, which will see a roster of 1500 construction and operational staff cut to between 50 and 100 people.

The Leixlip plant, known as by Intel as Fab 24, was being upgraded and extended to produce next-generation 300mm wafers. It was due to go on stream at the tail end of this year, but will now not start churning out wafers until 2003.

Intel Ireland spokesman Bill Riley told the Irish Times that the $2 billion would still be spent when construction recommences in 2002. Pesumably this mean the company will spend less than the $7.5 billion it originally earmarked for investments in chip production this year.

Ironically, Chipzilla chief Craig Barrett told attendees at the Intel Developers Forum last month that "you never save your way out of recession", referring to cutting back R&D and infrastructure spending. Quite the reverse, he said, you spend more money, so you're ready when the recession ends. ®