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Let us stay under China control, Newport workers plead

Business news |
By Peter Clarke


Staff at Nexperia Newport, formerly Newport Wafer Fab, support the continued Chinese ownership of the plant, according to The Times.

A letter sent to the The Times by the staff association of the facility apparently is trying to head off a possible ruling by the UK government that the 2021 takeover of Newport Wafer Fab by power and discrete semiconductor maker Nexperia NV be reversed.

The Times said the staff association had sent a letter saying they, “fully support Nexperia and its ownership of our site” because it has provided stability, improved job security, wages and working conditions. The staff alliance claims to represent 582 employees at the site.

The takeover of NWF by Nexperia is under investigation by the UK government under the National Security and Investment act, which came into force at the beginning of 2022. Nexperia is owned by a Chinese company called Wingtech Technology Co. Ltd.

A ruling is expected from the government by October 3 but there have been reports that it will demand the deal be unwound or conditions placed on its continued operation (see UK set to tell Nexperia to sell wafer fab stake – report).

The Times reported that letter also said: “We have absolutely no desire to work under a consortium under the stewardship of Drew Nelson, the previous owner, Malcolm Penn [a former board member] and any combination of investment groups . . . some employees are even prepared to resign rather than work under such a stewardship.”

The letter also described Newport Wafer Fab prior to the Nexperia takeover as being a “mis-managed, undercapitalised start-up, struggling to compete even in a buoyant market, ultimately resulting in it becoming a loss-making business.”

Drew Nelson, a former CEO of wafer supplier IQE plc, was a significant owner of Newport Wafer Fab before it was sold to Nexperia in 2021. Nelson reportedly has the right of first refusal to buy the company back and has teamed up with Palladian Investment Partners LLC to mount a bid for the company. Other private equity companies are also reportedly interested in taking a stake in the company (see Newport Wafer Fab sale decision delayed, as private equity circles).

Related links and articles:

UK set to tell Nexperia to sell wafer fab stake – report

Newport Wafer Fab sale decision delayed, as private equity circles

Technology fund formed for Newport Wafer Fab rescue bid

Newport Wafer Fab sale comes under investigation

Analyst Penn casts blame on Nexperia as Newport takeover investigated

Newport chip foundry is still possible, Nexperia’s Versluijs tells MPs

UK government helps NWF develop GaN foundry process

IQE has vision for billion-pound foundry in Newport

UK government opens inquiry about domestic semiconductor industry


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