The UK government has finally cleared US electronics company Vishay’s takeover of Newport Wafer Fab factory, the UK’s largest semiconductor manufacturing site.

The fab has had a tumultuous couple of years, having initially been bought by Dutch technology company Nexperia in July 2021. However, because Nexperia is a subsidiary of Shanghai-listed Wingtech, the UK government forced the firm to sell its 86 percent stake in the factory due to concerns that China could undermine the country’s semiconductor production capabilities.

Newport Wafer Fab – Newport Wafer Fab

The plant, which employs more than 400 people, was then bought by Vishay in November 2023 for a reported £142 million ($177m), but the deal couldn’t be finalized until the Cabinet Office had cleared the purchase on national security grounds.

A consent order approving the purchase has now been issued by Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden. Under the terms of the agreement, the UK government must be informed if Vishay plans to give third parties access to the factory via sale, transfer, or lease agreements.

Located on 28 acres, Newport Wafer Fab primarily produces semiconductors for the automotive markets.

In a statement released when Vishay first entered into an agreement with Nexperia to buy the facility, Joel Smejkal, president and CEO of Vishay said: “Under new leadership in early 2023, Vishay set an ambitious goal of investing approximately $1.2 billion in capacity over a three-year period in order to position the company to seize the opportunities created by the megatrends of e-mobility and sustainability needed for a Net Zero economy.”

He added: “For Vishay… in addition to expanding capacity, we intend to collaborate with the Compound Semiconductor Cluster in South Wales and to join with key stakeholders committed to developing the semiconductor industry in the UK including university and community partners in the UK and particularly South Wales.”