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Executive Information Service

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment

Biggest ever Japanese Investment in Northern Ireland announced by Fujitsu

Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Limited (FTEL), a subsidiary of Japan's Fujitsu Limited, is to set up a 29.4 million engineering centre for advanced communication technology products, which will employ 400 skilled engineers over the next four years in Belfast, Sir Reg Empey, MLA, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said today.

Sir Reg announced the latest Fujitsu investment - the biggest ever by a Japanese company in Northern Ireland - at a news conference in Belfast.

He said: "This is a massive stamp of approval from one of the world's leading technology companies for Northern Ireland as a centre of excellence in the development of knowledge-led products for communications including the Internet."

"In addition to these investments, Fujitsu has a number of global business groupings and through one of these, ICL, it now employs over 1,100 people in Northern Ireland."

This expansion incorporates the company's existing software operation in Belfast. This operation was established in early 1999, it currently employs 30 people and was targeted to grow to 150.

The latest investment, the fourth by Fujitsu in Northern Ireland since 1996, will create around 250 new jobs for a wide range of disciplines within telecommunications development industry in addition to the software operation. The investment has been backed by IDB and the Training and Employment Agency.

Outlining the reasons for this investment, Dr Kazuo Murano, FTEL Chairman and Fujitsu Board Member, said: "This strategically important investment will provide us with the significant new engineering resource we need to be able to develop smart products quickly for the fast moving and very demanding global marketplace.

"Our decision to locate this project in Belfast was influenced by the successful experience of doing business in Northern Ireland since 1992. "Not only do Queen's University and the University of Ulster produce some of the best qualified information technology/engineering graduates in Europe, they have a genuine 'open door' approach which encourages companies to use their expertise and excellent facilities for R&D projects," Dr Murano added.

Sir Reg continued: "The planned engineering centre will be responsible for developing and testing advanced communications products for Fujitsu in North America and Europe."

"This will involve the new engineering centre in Belfast working alongside Fujitsu Network Communications Inc, headquartered in Richardson -Texas, and its operation in San Jose, California in developing highly innovative products for the pivotally important North American market."

"It will further enhance Northern Ireland's communications 'cluster' and consolidate our growing reputation as a region in the forefront of communication technologies, now the most dynamic global industry, and provide exciting career opportunities for graduates and other highly skilled people."

"This investment will also help the current drive by the IDB, the Department of Higher and Further Education, Training and Employment and the Software Industry Federation to attract skilled expatriates home to Northern Ireland by providing extensive career opportunities with a major international telecommunications technology company."


NOTES TO EDITORS

Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Limited (FTEL) has been offered Selective Financial Assistance of 3.9 million by IDB towards the cost of this investment.

Established in 1991 FTEL is a European subsidiary of Fujitsu. It is headquartered in Birmingham and employs 1,200 people in development of the group's communications business in Europe.

FTEL has three operations in Northern Ireland - a product repair and refurbishment facility at Antrim, a manufacturing facility at Springvale Business Park and a software development centre in Belfast city. Together they currently employ 145 people - 60 at Antrim, 55 at Springvale and 30 in the existing software engineering centre.

Fujitsu Limited is an internationally renowned Japanese group with global business focused on the manufacture of semiconductor devices and components, computers, computer peripherals and telecommunications. It employs some 188,000 people worldwide. In the year ended March 1999 it had sales of US$43.3 billion and an operating profit of US$1.1 billion. Its telecommunications-related subsidiaries generated revenues of US$5.629 billion and profits of US$129million during the same period. This represents some 13 per cent of Fujitsu's activities and equates to it being the eighth largest telecoms manufacturer in the world.

In addition, the company's United Kingdom subsidiary, ICL Limited, has an extensive presence in Northern Ireland which includes:

- Kainos Software, a joint venture with QUBIS, Queen's University's technology operation;
- the recently announced ICL-Microsoft Solutions Centre;
- a managed services and outsourcing operation;
- Synergy Centres, a multimedia, cyberskills and technology transfer Unit owned jointly with the University of Ulster.

Fujitsu Network Communications Inc, a US business unit of Fujitsu Limited, designs and manufactures fibre-optic transmission and broadband switching platforms for delivery of voice, data and video services.


For further information, please contact:

Colin Thompson

Fujitsu Telecommunications Europe Ltd
Solihull Parkway
Birmingham Business Park
Birmingham B37 7YU
UK
Tel: +44 (0)121 717 6124
Fax: +44 (0)121 717 6161
Email: C.Thompson@ftel.co.uk
Georgina Garrett/Simon Jones

Garrett Axford
Harbour House
27 High Street
Shoreham-by-Sea
West Sussex BN43 5DD
UK
Tel: +44 (0)1273 441200
Fax: +44 (0)1273 441300
Email: mail@garrett-axford.co.uk