Jul 02, 2003

Seagate Anounces £90M Investment In New Technology

Seagate Technology is investing £90 million in the development and fabrication of next generation technology for the global computer industry at its Springtown, Londonderry plant over the next three years, Ian Pearson MP, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said today.

Mr. Pearson announced the Invest Northern Ireland-backed investment at the Seagate plant in Springtown with John Spangler, plant manager. The investment will help Springtown develop new technology that could provide computer manufacturers with hard disc drives that offer increases in storage capacity and performance.

Said Mr. Pearson: "This is a major investment - among the most significant in recent years - in the North West and the wider Northern Ireland economy by a global industry leader that has become a driving force here in the electronics industry in terms of its focus on innovation and relationships in the universities on cutting-edge R&D projects."

"As well as positioning the Springtown operation at the very centre of Seagate's most advanced technology, the investment is a signal to the international electronics industry that Northern Ireland is a perfect location for knowledge-led companies with a strong global focus."

Mr. Pearson said the investment would also reinforce the Department's regional innovation strategy 'Think/Create/Innovate' and the work of Invest NI in encouraging industry and the universities to invest in higher levels of R&D.

Mr. Spangler, commenting on the investment, said: "Continued commitment to R&D is an essential part of Seagate's corporate strategy to maintain technology leadership and our operations at Springtown and Limavady both have centres of excellence working on advanced technology projects."

"Springtown will play a central role in extending our capability to develop advanced technology products using a variety of materials that are required to provide the vast amounts of storage demanded by the latest digital systems."

Mr. Spangler said Seagate recognises the need to continuously develop new products that meet customers' needs, and to identify new markets.

"With more and more devices adopting digital technology formats, this creates opportunities for the Company in new applications including consumer devices such as televisions, personal video recorders, gaming consoles, and MP3 players."

"The decision to locate this important strategic investment in Northern Ireland reflects our confidence in the high quality of talent available here and the successful experience that we have with the University of Ulster and Queens University in digital electronics," he added.

This investment is a further major vote of confidence by Seagate on the benefits of a Northern Ireland location and follows a previous investment announcement. In April, Seagate announced an R&D investment, supported by Invest NI's START programme, which will enable the company to undertake a strategic research project on the next generation of magnetic recording technology and a Research Centre of Excellence at its Limavady plant.

Notes to Editors

Seagate is the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disc drives for Enterprise, PC and Consumer Electronics applications. The Company is committed to delivering award winning products, customer support and reliability, to meet the world's growing demand for information storage. Seagate can be found around the globe and at www.seagate.com.

Seagate has two facilities in Northern Ireland, employing over 1,800 people between them. At the Springtown wafer fabrication facility, the Company develops and manufactures the recording heads, which write information onto and read information from the recording disc inside a computer's hard drive. The Company's Limavady facility produces nickel-plated aluminum substrates, the core material on which computer hard disc drives read, write and store digital information.

Seagate Technology has been offered £10 million by Invest NI towards the costs of the investment that will help preserve the existing high quality employment at Springtown.