HIGH-tech electronics company ON Semiconductor has officially opened its design centre in Raheen.
In a move which puts the Limerick operation at the centre of its business globally, the move represents an investment of €2.5m from the company directly.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan this Monday joined company executives for the opening of the state-of-the-art facility.
The manufacturing firm has moved from rented office space to this permanent location.
It measures 2,000 square metres, and also incorporates engineering laboratories that are up to a high standard.
The IDA-backed investment, it is anticipated, will see 50 jobs created in the coming years.
Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, ON Semiconductor has bases across the world.
Here in Limerick, university graduates design silicon chips which are used in computing programmes.
It works with a number of blue-chip computing firms including Intel and AMD Processing.
Since opening in 2008, ON Semiconductor has grown from 26 staff to almost 50 now.
John Blake, director of ON Semiconductor’s design centre, said the investment is a statement that the firm is here “for the medium term at least”.
“This is an investment in bricks and mortar, which only makes sense if you analyse the investment over ten years. What we are really doing is spending the money up front, and saying we will get a return on this over that time,” he said.
Mr Blake added that the creation of new positions depends on how well the team in Limerick is doing, alongside customers and the market overall.
While the factory is two-thirds in operation at the moment, the goal is to get it at full tilt in the next five years.
Mr Noonan said the presence of a company like ON Semiconductor in Limerick sends out a strong message to other companies which might be seeking to invest in the region.
“When you get a world name settling in Limerick with very high-skilled activity, this sends a message out. When the IDA bring other companies around the country which want to set up in Ireland, and they show Limerick as a location: well, if you can deal with the high end of electronics, it is something very positive,” he told reporters.
Bob Klosterboer, a senior vice president at the firm, said the fact that ON Semiconductor now has its own design centre here provides stability to staff.
This in turn he says will lead to more success for the company. He said Limerick has become “the centre of excellence” for the firm.