THE president and CEO of the multi-national Microsemi corporation is set to investigate the possibility of making the company’s Ennis facility its European headquarters.
Microsemi Ireland, based on the Gort Road, is one of the largest employers in Clare, currently employing 260 people. President and CEO of the company, Jim Peterson, arrived in Ennis this week as part of a European sales and marketing meeting, which saw representatives of the company from all over the world visit the town.
Mr Peterson said Ennis was chosen as the venue for the high-profile meeting due to its central importance within the company’s European markets. He revealed that on his return to America, he will speak to senior staff at the company about making Ennis the official European headquarters of Microsemi.
“We’ve never really labelled Ennis as our European headquarters but it is certainly something I should do. I am certainly going to put it on my agenda with my staff. Productivity is up in Ennis and there is a really competent management team. They have already pretty much identified themselves as being our European headquarters. I’m going to go to my senior staff to consider it if we find there is no legal reason why we can’t do this,” he confirmed.
He outlined that over the last number of years, the company has invested more than $25 million in upgrading the Ennis facility and he was delighted this week to showcase it to Microsemi’s global representatives.
He praised the work of the Ennis workforce stating, “Since we moved equipment from other locations to Ennis, productivity is up by 20%”.
Mr Peterson also stated he has hopes of expanding the company’s operations in Ennis. “Things have been going really well here. We have 260 employees and they all seem to be very, very busy. The fact is that Microsemi, as a whole, is growing somewhere between 15 and 20% per year. I don’t know exactly how that falls into Ennis but certainly as we expand our product lines and our available market, Ennis does get a review. No-one can doubt the productivity and strength of the operation here so as Microsemi grows, we could assume that Ennis grows.
“I am cautious of giving a hard number because the environment is uncertain. I am certain of the strength of Microsemi business but I just don’t want to give a false feeling to the people of Ennis. Right now Microsemi is very, very strong. It has been and will continue to be and therefore, so should Ennis.”
He praised the IDA for their support, saying it was part of the company’s decision to locate in Clare. Also playing a part in that decision was the proximity to Shannon Airport, the educated workforce and tax rates. Although he stressed, “If you talk to any CEO and they tell you the reason they move anywhere is just because of the tax, you’ve found a loser. It’s just one of many components.”
Microsemi produce semi-conductors for the global avionics and aerospace markets. Founded in 1960, the company is headquartered in California and operates facilities in California, Arizona, Massachusetts, Ireland, Israel, India and Shanghai.
The company has seen its served markets grow from $500 million to more than $4 billion in the past 10 years. The Microsemi Ireland subsidiary has been in Ennis since 1992, when the corporation acquired a Unitrode facility that had established in 1979.