NEWPORT, Wales International Rectifier is to base its most advanced IC processes at its facility in Newport, Wales as part of a planned investment of $40million which will also provide the potential to quadruple the facility’s production capability. Alex Lidow, IR’s CEO was joined by Welsh First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, to announce the expansion of the workforce and an initial doubling of production capacity.
Around 120 engineering and production jobs will be created as the company brings on-line its 200mm (8-inch) wafer fabrication facility. Many of the newly created jobs will be devoted to IR’s latest high voltage IC (HVIC) proprietary technology as the facility expands beyond the existing production of low voltage devices.
Since the acquisition in March 2002 of the former European Semiconductor Manufacturing (ESM) foundry, that previously also housed Inmos and Newport Wafer-Fab, IR has invested over $66 million dollars to expand production capabilities in the 150mm facility and has increased the staff by more than 100.
Lidow said, “With the great skill sets available here in Wales and greater Europe, and our strong relationships with the Welsh Assembly and Welsh Development Agency, we are ahead of our original expansion plans. These circumstances coupled with strong market demand lead to our decision to bring the 200 mm facility on-line.”
Morgan said, “International Rectifier is a hugely successful company with an international lead in the semiconductor market and this announcement will be very warmly welcomed in Newport and South Wales. I am very pleased that the Welsh Assembly Government has played a key role in the company’s expansion in Newport through a Regional Selective Assistance (RSA) grant. Our backing for this project has been crucial in securing a future for Newport’s semi-conductor manufacturing skill base and demonstrates International Rectifier’s commitment to develop skilled R&D and Operations openings here in the region.”
Graham Hawker, Chief Executive of the Welsh Development Agency added, “The opening of this 8-inch wafer fab is positive news for Newport and testament to the teamwork of the WDA with industry to maximize economic growth opportunities here in Wales.”
Rhodri Morgan (left), Welsh First Minister, with Alex Lidow, IR’s CEO