UK blocks Chinese takeover of Welsh graphene maker

UK blocks Chinese takeover of Welsh graphene maker

Business news |
By Peter Clarke

The takeover of a Welsh maker of graphene and carbon nanotubes by a Chinese-led consortium has been abandoned after a UK government investigation.

UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng ordered a Phase 2 investigation of the proposed acquisition of Perpetuus Applied Materials plc on national security grounds on May 11.

Perpetuus was founded in 2013 and has developed products and services around the supply of graphene and carbon nanotubes. These have applications in mechanical engineering and as additives in materials as well as in electronics.

Shanghai Kington Technologies and other investors had proposed to take over the company.

The chief nanotechnology scientist associated with Perpetuum is Zhongfu Zhou whose research spans in the design, simulation, fabrication and characterization of graphene derivatives, polymer reinforced composites. Zhou obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Science & Technology Beijing, China. In 2005, he obtained his D.Phil. in Materials Science from the University of Oxford, after which he moved to the School of Chemistry, Cardiff University.

This more aggressive action by the Business Secretary may have implications for the fate of Newport Wafer Fab Ltd., the UK’s most advanced chip making facility which was taken over by Nexperia in July 2021.

Nexperia, formerly the discretes and power chips division of NXP Semiconductor, was sold to Chinese interests in 2017 and acquired by Wingtech Technology in 2019.

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