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Apple Finally Gets Approval to Build Data Center in Ireland

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After a considerable delay of more than two and a half years, Apple Inc (AAPL - Free Report) has received approval from Ireland’s High Court to build the proposed data center, per media reports.

The Irish Court has rejected three appeals that claimed the construction would damage the environment. The data center will be located in rural area of western Ireland and will be powered by renewable energy.

It is worth mentioning that Apple has publicly committed to powering its data centers with 100% renewable energy. Apple is one of the leading companies to have taken up climate change issues head on. Currently, the company sources 96% of its worldwide energy from renewable sources, while all its data centers run on 100% renewable energy.

Apple Inc. Price

Apple Inc. Price | Apple Inc. Quote

The data center in Ireland will reportedly provide 300 temporary jobs (construction) and will employ 150 people, once functional.

Per Reuters, the delay had made Apple irate and as a result, the company’s representatives had told the Irish Prime Minster Leo Varadkar that the company will need to think of future investments in the country.

One in every 10 jobs created in the country comes from multinational corporations and thus Ireland cannot afford to be lackadaisical in its approach for giving approvals for investments like data centers. The government is already working on simplifying laws that will categorize data centers as strategic infrastructure to enable speeding up of the planning process, added Reuters further.

In July 2017, Apple had announced that it was planning to spend $921 million to open a new data center in Denmark, which will commence operations in the second quarter of 2019.

The planned facility will be located in Aabenraa and will mark Apple’s second renewable energy-powered data center in Denmark. The company’s first data center (announced in 2015 along with the Ireland data center) in the country is under construction and is expected to initiate operations later this year.

Apple is also expanding its data center footprint in the United States to create more jobs. The company recently announced that it will be investing $1.3 billion in setting up a sprawling data center in Waukee, IA. Construction will begin in 2018 and is expected to conclude by 2020, supporting over 550 jobs.

Zacks Rank & Stock Price Movement

At present, Apple carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Year to date, shares of the company have gained 34.7% compared with the industry’s gain of 33.9%.

Stocks to Consider

Better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Applied Materials (AMAT - Free Report) , Jabil Inc (JBL - Free Report) and Fortinet Inc (FTNT - Free Report) . All sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Long-term earnings growth rate for Applied Materials, Jabil and Fortinet is currently projected to be 17.1%, 12% and 16.8% respectively.

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