Infineon sells Newport, Wales wafer fab to independent foundry enterprise

September 21, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
When it acquired International Rectifier in 2015, one of the restructuring measures that Infineon Technologies announced was that its Newport, Wales manufacturing site would either be closed or sold in 2017. Infineon has disclosed that it now has a buyer for the wafer fab, in the shape of Neptune 6 Ltd., a recently-formed private company that intends to operate the site as a silicon and compound-semiconductor foundry.

The announcement follows the signing of an agreement under which, "Neptune 6 will acquire IR Newport Ltd., a subsidiary manufacturing site of Infineon. Both parties expect to conclude the deal by the end of September 2017. Infineon and Neptune 6 have also entered into a two-year supply agreement ensuring a mutually smooth transition phase."

Neptune 6 intends to operate the business as Newport Wafer Fab Ltd., reviving the name under which the site operated prior to its acquisition by International Rectifier, which took place in 2003.

Remarks by Jochen Hanebeck, member of the Management Board Operations at Infineon Technologies AG, included,

"The transfer of the fab is a major step in consolidating our frontend manufacturing footprint after the acquisition of International Rectifier."

Steve Berry, the legal director of Neptune 6 Ltd., commented: "The Newport site, which comes with a skilled workforce of highly reliable and very experienced people, is extremely well placed to contribute to the rapidly emerging International Compound Semiconductor Cluster of South Wales. The fab is very well equipped to act as a globally competitive chip foundry, and Newport Wafer Fab Ltd. will be highly complementary to the existing semiconductor expertise in the region.

"Financial details of the sale are not disclosed, but HSBC Bank and the Welsh [regional] Government are credited with, "facilitating the transaction."

"The success of the transaction means that Newport Wafer Fab can provide the employees, the region and the UK with a very bright future in high volume advanced semiconductor chip manufacturing," Mr. Berry said.

Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates, of the aspiration to develop a global centre for Advanced Compound Semiconductor technologies, in the area, that the site, "would form a key part of the compound semiconductor cluster over the coming years."

Neptune 6 Ltd. is a newly-formed private company that intends to operate the Newport manufacturing site under the name Newport Wafer Fab Ltd., and to re-establish