China's Nexperia buys Newport Wafer Fab amid concerns

July 05, 2021 // By Peter Clarke
China's Nexperia buys Newport Wafer Fab amid concerns
Analog, power and discretes chipmaker Nexperia NV (Nijmegen, The Netherlands), owned by Wingtech of Shanghai, China, has announced it has bought Newport Wafer Fab Ltd. (Newport, Wales).

Although Nexperia has not revealed the sum paid or how the deal was constructed, it was for $87 million (about £63 million), according to reports. Newport Wafer Fab is capable of making power and compound semiconductor ICs on 200mm-diameter wafers.

There may be the opportunity for continued UK-owned production in an empty building on the campus, reports also indicated.

Many have opposed the Chinese deal with the company's board of directors even writing to the UK's Business Secretary Kwasi Karteng seeking protection from the takeover, but the UK has declined to act so far. This is despite the fact that Newport Wafer Fab (NWF) is the focus of a cluster of excellence in compound semiconductors and takepayers' money has been spent on developing process technologies such as gallium-nitride-on-silicon (see UK government helps NWF develop GaN foundry process).

Meanwhile Newport Wafer Fab has become Nexperia Newport as Nexperia has announced it has completed the transaction to acquire Newport Wafer Fab.

Nexperia is a customer of the foundry services offered by Newport Wafer Fab and became its second largest shareholder in 2019. When NWF failed to meet certain conditions of its supply contract Nexperia exercised the right to appoint board directors which it exercised. They in turn were able to affect the next steps for the company.

Nexperia said that Nexperia Newport will continue to have a strong position in the Welsh ecosystem and technology development and will secure the current jobs at the Newport site and others across the region.

"The acquisition is great news for the staff here in Newport and the wider business community in the region as Nexperia is providing much-needed investment and stability for the future," said Paul James, operations director at the Newport site, in a statement issued by Nexperia.

Next: Technology heading to China?

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Newport

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