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Electronics Production | December 15, 2005

Seagate adds 300 jobs in Northern Ireland

Seagate Technology, a supplier of hard disc drives, is investing £83 million ($157 million) in its two Northern Ireland factories at Limavady and Springtown. The investment is expected to create 300 new jobs and includes backing of £24.82 million ($47 million) from Invest Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland's economic development agency.
The announcement was made today by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Mr. Peter Hain, MP.

Speaking at the Springtown, Londonderry, plant, Mr. Hain said: "Today's announcement will see the Springtown plant, already recognised as the most advanced nanotechnology manufacturing facility in the UK, become Seagate's main global manufacturing facility and a key development site for read-write heads for computer hard drives. It will also enable the Limavady plant to produce a wider range of aluminium substrates for integration into Seagate's hard disc drive products."

"The investment will create significant new quality employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing in the North West," said Mr. Hain. "The company's decision to expand here is a testament to the skills and abilities of the local workforce. As Seagate Technology continues to spend more on research and development than any of its competitors, this new investment project will consolidate the position of Londonderry as a leading Centre of Excellence for nanotechnology research and development in the UK."

Dr. Brian Burns, plant manager at Seagate's Limavady substrate manufacturing facility, said that the investment in Limavady would enable the plant to develop and implement technologies that would support Seagate's leadership position in the hard disc drive industry: "As the digital era continues to gather pace and the demand for digital storage becomes greater and greater, Seagate is uniquely positioned to benefit," he said. "The company sees great opportunities not just in the more traditional areas of computer storage but also in the fast developing consumer electronics environment. These opportunities mean that Seagate is producing a wider range of products and the investment in Limavady will allow the plant to participate in many more of these. Our status as a recognised Centre of Excellence for substrate development and manufacture reflects our determination to produce substrates to the highest standards in the industry."

Mr. John Spangler, Seagate vice president and plant manager at the company's Springtown wafer fabrication facility, said that the investment announcement was great news for Seagate in Northern Ireland and for the local community: "Since we first set up in Northern Ireland in 1993, we have invested heavily in our people and in our technology to ensure that we are the leading edge of read-write head manufacturing for hard disc drives. Operational flexibility and our ability to attract a high-calibre workforce have been key elements in our success. This new investment will enable Springtown to continue with this success into the future." Mr. Spangler also said that the local community would benefit significantly as the number of people working at Seagate's two factories in the North West would rise to over 2,100, with an annual wage bill of over £45 million ($85 million). In addition, the company spends some £11 million ($20 million) annually on locally sourced goods and services.

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