Infineon sells Newport fab to power foundry startup

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

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. One of the directors of Neptune 6 is Dr Drew Nelson, chief executive of wafer producer IQE in Cardiff. The UK government has also backed a R&D centre in Newport for compuound semiconductors that would be a partner for Newport Wafer Fab. This was backed up by Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, who said the site, “would form a key part of the Compound Semiconductor Cluster over the coming years.”

“The transfer of the fab is a major step in consolidating our frontend manufacturing footprint after the acquisition of International Rectifier,” said Jochen Hanebeck, member of the Management Board Operations at Infineon Technologies.

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.

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