Dither and delay

1 min read

The Newport Wafer Fab in south Wales has hit the headlines again with the news that the UK government has yet to approve a proposed takeover of the UK’s largest semiconductor facility by US company Vishay.

The fate of the facility has been up in the air for nearly two years since the UK government indicated it had national security concerns over a proposed takeover by Nexperia, a Chinese-owned company.

Jobs have already been lost at the facility, but the government has yet to approve the proposed acquisition by Vishay, despite promising to decide quickly.

Vishay Intertechnology agreed to buy the factory in November 2023 for $177m. At the same time, it announced plans for $1.2bn in global investments, some of which could be earmarked for the Newport facility.

Three months on and the government has yet to make a decision and has been accused of dragging its feet. It must be a frustrating time for the workers left at the facility which makes chips for controlling power in devices.

The UK government says it’s committed to ensuring that the UK semiconductor industry continues to grow and thrive and has pointed to its semiconductor strategy unveiled last year as highlighting its commitment to the sector.

What’s causing the delay? Vishay is a US company so national security shouldn’t be an issue and these chips are not the most technologically advanced either.

Because of this delay all development work at the site has been stopped and it is unable to take new orders.

It is just more dither and delay on the part of a government that seems incapable of making decisions.