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Newport microchip manufacturer could be bailed out by taxpayers money if Chinese deal is blocked

30 May 2022 2 minutes Read
Newport Wafer Fab picture by Robin Drayton (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Taxpayer’s money could be used to rescue the UK’s biggest microchip factory if ministers block its sale to the Chinese.

The takeover of microchip manufacturer Newport Wafer Fab by a Chinese-owned company was called in for a “full national security assessment” last week after growing pressure from MPs amid concerns that it has been acquired by a “strategic competitor”.

Under the terms of the legislation, ministers have the power to scrutinise and, if necessary, intervene in the acquisition on national security grounds.

The Government has an initial period of 30 working days – potentially extendable by up to 45 days – to carry out that assessment.

At least two consortia are believed to have expressed an interest in funding a bid for the plant if this deal is reversed and one of those, a US-backed group, has reportedly held talks with the £1bn Automotive Transformation Fund (ATF) about supporting high-tech research at the Newport Wafer Fab facility.

According to the Daily Telegraph, the consortium is understood to have held talks with Ian Constance, the chief executive of the Advanced Propulsion Centre, which runs the ATF.

Money would be offered as grant funding, rather than the ATF taking an equity stake in any takeover.

The newspaper reports the group has spent months lining up funding and executives to take on the plant.

One source said this could include former members of Newport Wafer Fab’s management team.

Electric vehicles

The ATF was set up last year to fund investment in electric vehicles and infrastructure, and earlier this year it put around £100m into BritishVolt, the British battery “gigaplant” in Northumberland.

The fund is believed to be interested in developing advanced microchip technology that could support fast-charging stations at the company’s factory in Duffryn.

Nexperia, which is owned by the Chinese technology company Wingtech, acquired Newport Wafer Fab for £63m last year.

The plant fell into financial trouble during the pandemic, allowing Netherlands-based Nexperia, which owned 14% of Newport Wafer Fab, to exercise an option to buy it.

China now controls more than nine per cent of the global semiconductor market, closing in on the EU which controls 10%.


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I. Humphrys
I. Humphrys
1 month ago

Why not embrace the Chinese? Done wonders for Volvo. I would slightly alter the size and shape of the Dragon on our flag and send it flying through the far east, where it
may recieve a welcome which may surprise us. The West has had its turn, and has it done us any favours? It”s gotten even worse, as can be seen in the closing of churches
which have lasted for centuries until now. It’s the turn of Asia, and we should maneuver accordingly?

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  I. Humphrys

Define “the West has done nothing for us?”

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

Oh pipe down tedious clone

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  Cynan

You pipe down.

I was asking our friend to justify his new found econo-sinophilia.

Stop being me being me.

Peter Cuthbert
Peter Cuthbert
1 month ago
Reply to  I. Humphrys

Don’t forget all these sales have been done under the Tory banner that “Britain is Open for Business” which in plain English means “Britain is up for Sales” and financed by loan funding from by our “Friends in the City” who will always keep the Party Coffers full. The idea of considering the National Interest (does it make sense for all our key strategic assets to be owned and run by potentially hostile states) and what about the interest of the Stakeholders (I.e. will local workers have a future and what about the local service industries that support the plant?).… Read more »

Cynan
Cynan
1 month ago
Reply to  Peter Cuthbert

Rape of the Fair Transistor.

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