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ST Microelectronics announces investment in Malta

ST Microelectronics today unveiled new state-of-the-art equipment just installed at its plant in Kirkop and announced further investment on a new line of products that will place it among the global leaders in microchip technology.

The announcement was made during a visit to the plant by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Finance Minister Tonio Fenech.

Dr Gonzi and Mr Fenech had earlier concluded months of talks on government assistance for the new investment with ST President and CEO Carlo Bozotti and Chief Operations Officer Alain Dutheil.

The new investment will enable the Malta plant to produce the latest micro-chips for use worldwide in mobile phones and computer games.

The move is also seen as consolidating the company's presence in Malta after fears for the company's future last year, when some downsizing was made.

The recently-installed equipment is used for the production of MEMS Systems (Micromechanical Systems) an innovative technology in which ST has world leadership. MEMS are highly miniaturised components used for gyroscopes, compasses and microphones used in the latest smartphones, computer games, auto-electronics, medical equipment, digital cameras and other technology-based products.

ST employs some 1,500 people, making it the largest private sector employer. It is also by far Malta's leading exporter. The government's assistance to the company will include worker training to cover competences in higher-end technology - enabling the company to produce its latest products in Malta.

The value of the investment was not announced but the company had, up to the end of last year, already invested US$1.1 billion.

Dr Gonzi said the government was proud that ST had continued to recognise Malta's potential as an investment destination and it had acknowledged the skills of its workers. This investment would further improve Malta's competitiveness and attractiveness for investment.

Dr Gonzi said this investment was the fruit of the government's actions to counter the impact of the international economic downturn by having supported companies and safeguarded jobs during the recession, enabling those companies to be in a position to invest further and strengthen their position.

"Despite the worldwide economic situation, ST is continuing to show confidence in Malta as a prime investment location," Dr Gonzi said.

Finance Minister Tonio Fenech said that in managing to protect its industry, the government had been able to position Malta to attract new investment as the global economic climate improved. The governemnt, he said, had assisted the Malta plant of ST Microelectronics to weather the storm and maintain its competitiveness and this was now paying dividends for the country.

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