NEC plans pounds 530m Scots plant

NEC, the Japanese electronics giant, has announced the biggest foreign investment in Scotland with plans to spend pounds 530m on a factory making a new generation of semiconductors.

About 430 staff will be employed at the plant, which will be sited alongside NEC's existing operation at Livingston, near Edinburgh. Scotland won the plant against fierce competition from California, Spain and Mexico.

The factory is thought to be the second-biggest Japanese investment to be made in the UK, after the pounds 850m Toyota car plant near Derby.

Hajime Sasaki, NEC's executive vice-president, said that Scotland's low labour costs, proximity to the European market and the UK government's offer of a broad financial package were the deciding factors.

State aid includes tax incentives and a grant, but Ian Lang, Secretary of State for Scotland, refused to outline the package in advance of routine publication in a few months. The size of the grant is said to be less than pounds 10m.

No research and development will be done at the factory, which will concentrate on assembly. NEC's current Scottish operation, opened in 1982 and employing 900 people, includes a design centre, and Dr Sasaki said its technological facilities might be expanded.

Scotland's 'Silicon Glen' already produces 11 per cent of Europe's semiconductors, 35 per cent of Europe's personal computers, and more than 50 per cent of its automated teller machines.

The plant will be capable of producing about 5 million 16-megabit dynamic random access memory chips (D-rams). The company's plan is for the plant eventually to concentrate on producing next-generation, 64-megabit D-ram chips. On Tuesday, Toshiba announced a pounds 645m investment in a new chip plant, and Korean companies have also stepped up investment in D- ram operations. NEC will begin building its plant this year, with production starting in 1996.

NEC lost its position as the world's biggest semiconductor chip maker to Intel of the US last year. In 1993, NEC had 7.3 per cent of the world market for semiconductors, according to the Dataquest Japan research firm.

NEC already makes 15 per cent of its semiconductors abroad, the highest percentage among Japanese producers. The Scottish plant would raise that to about 20 per cent.

Livingston's workers recently won one of Japan's most prestigious industrial awards - the first time it had gone to any NEC plant outside Japan, and only the second time it had been given to a foreign factory. The plant's lead time, from receiving raw material to producing finished goods, was said to be twice as fast as at any of the competitor plants in the NEC group in Japan.

Dr Sasaki said: 'One of the keys to our successful operation here has been the performance of our workforce. They have reached quality and productivity levels that have surpassed our sister companies in NEC. Scottish people work very hard and are very flexible.'

Mr Lang, whose announcement coincided with the start of the Scottish National Party conference, said he believed NEC's decision would encourage other global concerns to consider locating in Scotland.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Financial Adviser

£20000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you recently QCA Level 4 qu...

SThree: Graduate Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £22500 per annum + OTE £30K: SThree: SThree Group have been well esta...

Guru Careers: Application Support Analyst / 1st Line Support

£25 - 30k: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Application Support Analyst / 1st L...

Guru Careers: .NET Developer / Web Developer

£45K - £55K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a full stack .NET D...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence