China-owned firm sells largest chip plant in UK
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China-owned firm sells largest chip plant in UK

Newport Wafer Fab now needs clarity as a result of the deal.

The American company Vishay purchased a large semiconductor factory in Wales, known as the Newport Wafer Fab, for $177 million. Before this, the factory was owned by Nexperia, which bought it in 2021.

Nexperia is based in the Netherlands but is a part of China’s Wingtech. Because of this ownership setup, UK lawmakers got involved.

In the previous year, the UK government directed Nexperia to sell most of its shares in Newport Wafer Fab, citing concerns about national security. This decision has led to a change in ownership for the factory, known for producing semiconductors used in a wide range of products, from household appliances to smartphones. These chips play a significant role in the automotive industry.

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Vishay, the new owner, emphasized the various potential uses of the chips while acknowledging the political sensitivities surrounding the acquisition.

Joel Smejkal, the President and CEO of Vishay, stated, “Acquiring Newport Wafer Fab aligns with our plans to expand capacity for our customers in automotive and industrial markets, while also supporting the UK’s strategic aim for a more resilient supply chain.”

On the other hand, Nexperia viewed the deal as the most practical choice available. The company appreciated Vishay’s commitment to developing the 28-acre site but criticized the British government’s actions.

Toni Versluijs, the Country Manager for Nexperia UK, mentioned, “Nexperia would have preferred to continue the long-term strategy it implemented when it acquired the investment-starved fab in 2021 and provided for massive investments in equipment and personnel.

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These investment plans have been cut short by the unexpected and wrongful divestment order made by the UK Government in November 2022.”

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