Texas Instruments finishes $300-million building, prepares for June opening

Published by rudy Date posted on February 9, 2009

CLARK FREEPORT, Philippines — Contrary to rumors its operations have been dwarfed by the global economic crisis, Texas Instruments, Inc. (TI), the world’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors, has started to move equipment and other facilities into its almost completed production plant here. The cost of the plant is estimated to reach $1.5 billion when it opens by the middle of this year.

“Texas Instruments has … finished its building here at the cost of $300 million,” Clark Development Corp. (CDC) president and chief executive officer Benigno Ricafort told The Star yesterday.

President Arroyo had described TI as the “biggest investment in the economic history of Clark”.

Ricafort denied reports that TI had significantly cut down on its operations in its plant in Baguio City as reported last December.

“What I know is that some 100 of its personnel in Baguio will be at Clark to orient the new but already trained employees of Texas Instruments here,” he said.

Rumors that the worldwide crisis has affected plans of TI came after some workers hired to construct the buildings here turned jobless.

“That’s because they were contractuals hired to construct the buildings. Now the buildings are finished as much as their contracts,” Ricafort said, noting that some 80,000 tons of concrete were used for the construction of the buildings within the sprawling 77,000 square meter TI complex.

Ricafort expressed confidence that despite recession in the US, TI would be able to employ some 3,000 workers for its plant in this freeport as initially announced. “I don’t think there has been any change in that,” he said, but noted that the hiring of personnel would come in phases, and not at one time.

No one from Texas Instruments could be reached immediately yesterday, but Ricafort said he expected the firm to start full blown operations “by June at the latest”.

TI has been operating a 25-hectare plant in Baguio City for more than two decades. This plant reportedly accounts for two-fifths of TI’s total sales.

TI’s $1-billion outlay for the plant, which will be designed as the company’s most environmentally efficient assembly site, will be spread over 10 years.

TI designs and manufactures analog, digital signal processing and chip technologies that help customers develop products for the affordable mobile phones to classroom projectors that support remote learning, to prosthetic devices.

There are about 36 semicon and electronic firms in Clark with a total investment commitment of P5.07 billion for the next five years and projected to employ more than P11,714 within the same period.

The volume of exports from Clark usually comes up close to a billion, of which 65 percent in terms of value are products of IT-firms/semiconductor firms.

Among the leading electronic firms in Clark are Nanox, Phils., which exports more than a million dollars worth of products monthly; SMK, Phils., which has more than $ 2 million in monthly export receipts; LNK with $ 1.5 million; Amertron with $ .159 million and Poongsan with $ .156 million exports.

Semi-conductor firms have cited the advantage of Clark because of the direct access of the Freeport to air cargo facilities, especially the availability of the world’s largest air cargo firm — the United Parcel Services — and the accessibility of Clark to seaports in Manila and Subic Bay Freeport Economic Zone in Zambales.

During the groundbreaking rites for its plant here in 2007, TI senior vice president Kevin Ritchie said his firm had considered setting up the plant in Vietnam, Thailand or China, but finally decided on a second Philippine plant because of the strength of its Baguio operations which employs over 2,000 workers.–Ding Cervantes, Philippine Star

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