Newport Wafer Fab plant takeover finally gets go-ahead

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The UK government has finally approved the takeover of the former Newport Wafer Fab factory, the UK’s largest manufacturer or semiconductors, after years of uncertainty.

Originally bought by Nexperia in July 2021 the Dutch-based technology company, which is a subsidiary of Shanghai-listed Wingtech, was forced to sell its 86% stake in the plant because of its links to China.

UK officials were concerned that China could undermine the UK's ability to produce semiconductors and feared a possible transferring of knowledge concerning critical technology to a Chinese-owned entity.

At the end of last year, the US electronics giant Vishay declared it would buy the plant outright for a reported $177m, securing more than 400 jobs.

Now, after what has been for many a tortuous four-month wait, a consent order has finally been issued by the government.

Now branded Newport Vishay by its new owners, Vishay has said that it wants to expand the site, with an emphasis on research and development in compound semiconductors.

This is a long overdue decision by the government – which has been accused of foot-dragging by critics – but will, hopefully, bring greater security to the workforce and to the wider UK-based semiconductor industry.