Newport Wafer Fab deal done says Chinese owner

Newport Wafer Fab deal done says Chinese owner

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Wingtech said it received notification to that effect from Companies House, the UK registrar of companies. “The transfer of the ownership has been completed, and Wingtech now indirectly owns the target company [Newport Wafer Fab] 100 percent,” Wingtech said in a filing with the Shanghai stock exchange.

The deal was announced as essentially completed back on July 5 but subsequently the UK prime minister said the deal would be investigated under national security legislation.

However, the act does not come into force until January 4, 2022. The UK could intervene on public interest grounds under the Enterprise Act 2002 but as more time elapses with Nexperia/Wingtech in control the less purpose it would serve and the less likely it is to happen.

A source close to the deal, said the gallium-nitride-on silicon power semiconductor technology and other compound semiconductor processes and recipes developed at Newport Wafer Fab are probably already in China.

Wingtech is building a 300mm power semiconductor wafer fab in Shanghai. The fab is being built at a cost of 12 billion yuan (about US$1.8 billion) and will have a manufacturing capacity of 30,000 wafers per month.

“What the US government does is to send a ‘freeze in place’ letter,” the source said referencing recent developments at MagnaChip. “But in this case Newport Wafer Fab has received no information from the UK government about this investigation or any kind of guidance from the UK government. They are only getting information from the press.”

There is the possibility that the UK government could try and impose a sale of the company to a consortium led by Ron Black, former CEO of Imagination Ltd. 

Once Wingtech/Nexperia has extracted the manufacturing process technologies of interest it may be prepared to entertain a resale to make a profit on its ownership.

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