UK's Newport Wafer Fab now under Chinese ownership

Government's promised review hasn't emerged, but Wingtech and Companies House say the deal is done


The controversial sale of the Newport Wafer Fab to Chinese smartphone assembly concern Wingtech Technologies is done and dusted.

Companies House has posted a confirmation statement describing the transfer of shares to Nexperia, a Dutch entity controlled by Wingtech.

On Monday Wingtech filed [PDF] with the Shanghai Stock Exchange to announce the deal's completion.

The deal is controversial – UK PM Boris Johnson has pledged a national security investigation and the UK's Minister of State pledged to review the transaction.

With the deal done, the status of that review and investigation are uncertain.

What is known is that the Newport Wafer Fab can crank out 32,000 wafers a month, working on a 200nm process. That's scarcely cutting-edge, tech given that Taiwan's TSMC is working on a 3nm process.

Of course, not every piece of electronics needs the latest and greatest, and the Newport facility specialises in providing unglamorous but important silicon for automotive, medical, industrial, consumer, telecom, and high power applications.

Wingtech's canned statement about the acquisition paints a rosy picture about the Fab's future, assuring workers and suppliers that jobs will be secure and suggesting further investment will flow.

But Nexperia customers have told a different story. CNBC last week carried a story that described a US-based customer of the Newport Fab having its contract cancelled due to the takeover deal.

Perhaps the promised review of the deal will consider that allegation. But with the transaction completed, the UK government will have to take radical action to reverse the deal or find ways to mitigate its effects. ®

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