THE Compaq Computer Corporation confirmed yesterday that it is to

invest #25m in another extension at its Erskine, Renfrewshire, plant

which will create up to 450 jobs.

The Texas-based company, which in only seven years has established

itself as one of the ''big three'' of the personal computer industry,

built its first European manufacturing plant at Erskine two years ago.

Before the first production units were shipped from the plant Compaq

was announcing an extension and yesterday's announcement will bring the

total invested in the facility to #46m. The plant, which has a

550-strong workforce, will employ about 1000 when the extension is


Mr Eckhard Pfeiffer, president of Compaq's European and international

division, attributed the rapid expansion at Erskine to the ''huge

surge'' in demand from the markets served by the plant for the company's

personal computer products.

Last year international sales increased by almost 150% and in the

first three months of this year sales outside the United States

accounted for 46% of corporate revenues. According to independent

research Compaq has emerged in the same period as the second biggest

supplier of personal computers for business in Europe. Rapid growth in

Europe and the international market is forecast for the foreseeable


''Had we not had the Erskine plant in place we could not have have met

the massive increase in demand for Compaq personal computers in Europe

during 1988,'' added Mr Pfeiffer.

The announcement was welcomed by Scottish Secretary Mr Malcolm Rifkind

and Scottish Development Agency chief executive Mr Iain Robertson. Mr

Rifkind said it enhanced Scotland's position as a European centre of

excellence in the information processing industry.

Mr Robertson commented: ''This endorsement of Scotland as a strong

base to serve the European market will be noticed around the world and

give a further boost to both Scotland's inward investment efforts in the

run-up to 1992 and our indigenous electronics industry.''

However the company confirmed that this would be the final expansion

at Erskine because no more than 1000 people could be employed on the

42-acre site without damaging the local environment, a risk which it was

not prepared to take.

It will be looking for more manufacturing facilities in Europe, but

there are no plans for further expansion in Scotland. Mr Robertson and

the company declined to disclose the amount of Scottish Office grant

allocated to the extension.

Compaq will require staff to work on the entire personal computer

manufacturing process, from senior engineers to assembly workers.

Recruitment will be carried out over the next three years. Only about

five per cent of workers are recruited from the unemployment register

and, apart from senior engineers, the company said it had not

encountered a skills shortage. About 1500 have applied for jobs with the

company in the last two years.