Intel has sent home early 600 Irish staff who were being trained in America for the introduction of a 14nm process at Intel’s Leixlip, Dublin wafer fab, reports The Irish Times.
The paper reports that a ‘slowdown in demand has prompted Intel to delay the introduction of 1272 (14nm) manufacturing to its Irish subsidiary by six months.’
At Intel’s Q3 results call, CFO Stacy Smith said that Intel had “cut factory loading significantly at the end of Q3 and will maintain low utilisation rates throughout Q4.”
Intel initially kicked off its ’22nm’ manufacturing with three fabs ramping simultaneously which may have been too much for the market to absorb.
The worry among Irish employees is that Intel may re-consider using Leixlip for 14nm. It was thought that the decision to use it for 14nm was a key factor in keeping it going.
Intel employs 4,500 people in Ireland making it the country’s largest private employer.
The 600 Irish staff were being trained on 14nm tools in Arizona and New Mexico. They are returning home in December, several months ahead of the planned end of training.
Intel recently spent $3.5bn at Oregon where it is feared by the Irish employees that the 14nm line output planned for Ireland might be relocated.
Intel’s cash in hand has shrunk to $10bn off-set by $7bn of debt.