By Tova Cohen
TEL AVIV (Reuters) - U.S. chip manufacturer Intel Corp expects to make a decision this year on the location of a new multi-billion dollar semiconductor plant using new 10 nanometer technology, executives at its Israeli unit said on Sunday.
Israel is one of a number of countries competing to host the new plant.
"Intel will take its decision as late as possible. Until it needs to, it won't make a decision," Maxine Fassberg, general manager of Intel Israel, told a news conference. "If we're looking at the next technology it has to come this year, but we don't know when."
Intel has already held talks with the Israeli government, which must offer incentives to be competitive, said Fassberg, manager of Intel's Fab 28 plant in the southern town of Kiryat Gat.
"There is no certainty it will be in Israel. The jury is still out; we are in the game," said Mooly Eden, president of Intel Israel and general manager of perceptual computing.
Intel Israel's exports amounted to $3.8 billion in 2013, down from $4.6 billion the year before. Eden said the 2012 number was inflated by inventory carried over from 2011 as the plant upgraded to improved technology.
"Overall I believe we have a healthy growth," Eden said.
In its 40 years in Israel, Intel has invested $10.8 billion in plants and development centers and received $1.5 billion in grants. It employs nearly 10,000 people.
It received grants totaling 28 percent of its investment when it built Fab 18, which started operating in Israel in 1999. This amount fell to 15 percent for Fab 28 in 2008, and when it upgraded Fab 28, the grant amounted to only 7 percent, she said.
"Together with the Israeli government we will do what needs to be done to stay competitive," Fassberg said.
(editing by Jane Baird)