Jacob Rees-Mogg considering reversing Chinese-backed takeover of Welsh microchip firm
Jacob Rees-Mogg is considering reversing a Chinese-backed takeover of a Welsh microchip firm.
Newport Wafer Fab, which employs 450 people, is one of the UK’s largest manufacturers of semiconductors, which are key components in communications devices and technology.
Nexperia, which previously held a 14 per cent stake in Newport Wafer Fab, took over the rest of the company last year in a £63million deal.
But the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said in April that they were concerned that the sale would place one of the UK’s “prized assets” going to a “strategic competitor” as the company is wholly owned by a Chinese company called Wingtech.
The National Security and Investment Act, which came into force in January, affords ministers the right to step in on business matters “where there is a risk to national security”.
A decision from the new Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg on whether to reverse the sale is due by October 3.
The firm’s former owner Drew Nelson, 67, is reported to be putting together a bid, together with private equity group Palladian Investment Partners, to buy it back.
Palladian Investment Partners also considered teaming up with Nelson – a former chief executive of IQE, a Cardiff-based microchip company – to rescue the business last year but their bid was rejected by Nexperia.
Drew Nelson had previously appealed to the Welsh Government for financial support, but according to the Times which has had sight of the correspondence the Welsh Government said it did not consider the request to be a “viable proposition”.
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