By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The American Dell Computer Company is set to become one of Ireland’s largest employers with the announcement that it will provide 1,700 new jobs in Limerick.
The £60 million expansion plan, announced by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern during the visit to the city by President Bill Clinton, is the second major job announcement by the company this year.
In January, Dell announced 3,000 jobs at its plants in Limerick and Bray in an investment worth £180 million.
The company, which pioneered direct sales to customers, said the further investment will include a new plant and is to satisfy increasing European demand for its products.
The new jobs will bring the total number of employees to nearly 6,000, the company said.
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Dell Computers had the second largest market share — 9.1 percent, according to IDC, a research firm — in its sector in Europe last month and had a one-year 86.6 percent increase in sales.
Dell reported a net profit of 346 million dollars for the second quarter of this year, a 62-percent jump over the same period last year.
Its expansion in Europe is the most significant of the 10 top computer manufacturers, with growth four times as strong as the market’s.
Dell has been manufacturing computers in Ireland since 1990 and makes machines for other European countries, the Middle East and Africa.