Another supplier to semiconductor companies is heading to Austin’s suburbs. Round Rock City Council just approved incentives that will aid the company to move into a facility in the Crystal Park development, off East Old Settlers Boulevard. This story summarizes the deal struck and also includes ABJ’s latest list of the largest manufacturers in the region.
Valex Corp. — which is headquartered in Ventura, near Los Angeles, but also has locations in South Korea and China — on May 26 was approved by Round Rock City Council for incentives that will aid the company to move into a 60,000-square-foot facility in the Crystal Park development at 120 E. Old Settlers Blvd. It will result in at least a $12 million capital investment and the creation of at least 75 jobs.
Founded in 1976, Valex manufacturers ultra-high purity process components such as pipes, fittings and ball valves used in the semiconductor, thin-film-transistor liquid-crystal display and solar industries. Officials noted that the company has worked with Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. in the past.
“After an extensive nationwide search, we are extremely pleased to have chosen the state of Texas, and in particular, the city of Round Rock to establish our new weldment division,” Valex Texas General Manager David Dyal said in a statement. “The city’s cooperation and incentives for this project along with its infrastructure, access to an excellent labor supply and proximity to our major customer base were key factors in making this decision. We would like to thank the city for welcoming our business and we look forward to establishing a long and lasting relationship with the local community.”
Weldment refers to the process of creating something with multiple welded components.
Valex’s selection of Central Texas is part of the spillover effect from Samsung’s decision to build a $17 billion semiconductor factory in nearby Taylor, plus a potential larger expansion with nearly a dozen additional fabrication plants in Taylor and an existing site in North Austin, officials noted.
“We all knew that when Samsung announced they were coming to Taylor, no they didn’t come to Round Rock specifically, but we would be receiving some of those ancillary benefits from suppliers coming to the region,” Round Rock Chamber President and CEO Jordan Robinson said during a May 24 Council briefing. “This is one example of that.”
As part of the incentives agreement, which was codenamed “Project Vortex,” Valex is required to invest at least $5 million in property improvements and $7 million in new equipment at an exiting facility in Crystal Park. The company will lease and occupy the facility for at least seven years. The company is required to have 75 employees, with an average salary of at least $50,000, within three years.
In return, the Round Rock Transportation and Economic Development Corp. will provide performance-based payments totaling $225,000 split evenly across three years.
“Technology and innovative manufacturing are huge economic drivers in Central Texas and target industries for our community,” Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan said in a statement. “Round Rock is an ideal location for this type of development, and we’re excited for this opportunity to further diversify our local economy.”
It marks another economic development win for Round Rock, which is the second-largest city in the Austin metro with a population of 119,519 in 2020, according to the census. Companies that have recently expanded or moved to Round Rock include Rousemount Systems Inc., a subsidiary of Emerson Electric Co. (NYSE: EMR), and Sabey Data Centers.
Valex’s decision further cements Central Texas’ status on the cutting edge of semiconductor manufacturing at a time when the world is facing a shortage of chips used in everything from cars to home appliances to computers.
Many semiconductor companies and suppliers already operate in Austin, and some are considering major expansions. That includes Applied Materials Inc. (Nasdaq: AMAT), Infineon Technologies AG and NXP Semiconductors NV (Nasdaq: NXPI), the former in Hutto and the latter two in Austin. Micron Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: MU) is still rumored to be eyeing a massive project in Lockhart.
But there have been setbacks for the sector as well. Intel considered the Austin area for a factory before ultimately opting to build a $20 billion campus in Ohio. Toppan Photomasks Inc. recently had an application for school district incentives denied in Round Rock, but is still eyeing expansion in the city.