Compound semiconductor wafer maker IQE was granted permission for the project, which will employ up to 650 staff, by Newport city council's planning committee. This overcomes reservation regarding the landscaping of the site.
The approval comes after IQE announced qualification programmes with over 10 additional key VCSEL chip manufacturers that will need additional capacity for the devices, driven by their use in LiDAR sensors for driverless cars, while Dr Godfrey Ainsworth was made executive chairman following the sudden death of its chief financial officer. The company is also adding reactors to the Newport Wafer fab to handle the extra demand for its specialist wafers for photonic devices.
“The commissioning of the new Newport foundry is progressing to plan, with the first five reactors now all on site and in various stages of acceptance testing, commissioning and qualification. The second five reactors are expected to be delivered on site commencing Q3 2018, with acceptance testing, commissioning and qualification during the rermainder of 2018," said Ainsworth. “Our new technologies portfolio, including GaN-on-silicon, nano-imprint lithography (NIL), crystalline rare earth oxide (cREO), and quasiphotonic crystals (QPC), is rapidly gaining strong traction and engagement with key customers around the globe for a wide variety of high volume applications.”
The death of Phillip Rasmussen, the Group’s CFO, in April sees Ainsworth providing investor relations support to the CEO Drew Nelson. Ainsworth plans to step down after a year, with Phil Smith, former chairman of Cisco taking over a non-executive chairman.