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Jacob Rees-Mogg considering reversing Chinese-backed takeover of Welsh microchip firm

14 Sep 2022 2 minute read
Jacob Rees-Mogg. Picture by Chris McAndrew (CC BY 3.0). Newport Wafer Fab picture by Robin Drayton (CC BY-SA 2.0).

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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1 year ago

Mogg probably has his fingers in that particular pie, and he will personally profit from this decision, or his corporate mates will. His only interest in national security is making sure his peer group do not have to pay tax on their vast portfolios.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 year ago
Reply to  Andrew

Yes, that seems likely but it would be sensible to unhook it from Chinese ownership. Of course the best outcome would be to set it up as a an employee owned co-operative, but JRM is way to off the end of the Right Wing scale to know whata worker co-op is.

Y Cymro
Y Cymro
1 year ago

Is Rees-Mogg also going to reverse the £24 billion paid by China towards the building of Hinkley Point, or the £143 billion invested in energy companies, schools, pubs transport hubs. Not forgetting over 200 “British” companies are either owned or co-owned by groups or individuals either based in Hong Kong or mainland China? Like hell he is. Most of the Tory front bench are likely shareholders in those said companies. Oh to be a corrupt Conservative with no morals or scruples.

Fi yn unig
Fi yn unig
1 year ago

We probably should be concerned about Chinese involvement in this particular type of business but I’m much more concerned that an anti Welsh bigot is in here meddling.

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