Power discretes, small signal transistor and logic maker Nexperia BV (Nijmegen, The Netherlands), which is owned by Chinese company Wingtech Technology Co. Ltd. (Shanghai, China), recently acquired Newport Wafer Fab Ltd. for an undisclosed sum (see Wingtech says Newport Wafer Fab deal is done).
However, the move raised concerns because Newport is arguably the largest wafer fab in the UK and had been serving as the manufacturing centre for a cluster of strategic research activities in compound semiconductors and silicon photonics. The Chinese ownership of Nexperia raised political concerns around the takeover prompting an investigation (see UK government will investigate takeover of Newport Wafer Fab).
In an interview with eeNews Europe Versluijs, who serves as the managing director of the Nexperia-Newport factory, said that although Nexperia wanted to use the factory for volume production of power MOSFETs it would honour all the current R&D contracts with a view to transitioning work to an independent fab within an empty building on the Newport site.
Many of these contracts are multi-year projects focused on GaN-on-Si, silicon-carbide and silicon photonics extending through to 2022, 2023 and in some cases 2024.
"We are continuing the projects. We will respect the contracts. We have offered to continue all of them. It is up to the cluster partners," Versluijs told eeNews Europe, in the interview. "The second thing we have done is agreed with the seller that he will be put in a position to start a new wafer fab for compound semiconductors and photonics; to pick up some of the contracts."