Vishay Intertechnology has acquired the Nexperia chip fab facility in Wales, UK.

The US semiconductor company announced this week it has entered into an agreement with Nexperia B.V. to acquire a wafer fabrication facility and operations in Newport, Wales, for $177 million in cash.

– Newport Wafer Fab

Sat on 28 acres, Newport Wafer Fab is the largest semiconductor manufacturing site in the UK, making 200mm semiconductors supplying primarily automotive markets.

The deal is expected to close in Q1 2024, pending a UK government review.

“Adding Newport Wafer Fab to our manufacturing footprint will be instrumental to achieving our goal of expanding capacity for our customers and to accelerating our SiC strategy,” said Joel Smejkal, president and CEO of Vishay.

“By agreeing to acquire Newport Wafer Fab, our goal is to safeguard the positions of the highly skilled and dedicated employees and to invest the necessary capital to set up production for our SiC Trench MOSFETs and diodes. With its solid balance sheet and ample liquidity, Vishay will immediately bring stability and its reliable cash flow generation to ensure the facility becomes a fully operational and profitable fab.”

Built in 1980 for Inmos, the Newport Wafer Fab represents a small portion of the world's semiconductor supply but holds several UK government research contracts, including defense-related projects. Prior to Nexeria’s acquisition, it produced around 8,000 wafers per week.

After changing hands numerous times over the years, Chinese-owned Dutch-based chipmaker Nexperia acquired a stake in the site in February 2021, taking full control of the company in July of that year.

However, after a lengthy national security review, the UK government blocked the sale in November 2022, forcing the company to unwind most of the £63 million ($75m) deal.

Nexperia, which is wholly owned by China’s Wingtech, said at the time that it was “shocked” and would appeal the decision.

Toni Versluijs, country manager at Nexperia UK, said: “Nexperia would have preferred to continue the long-term strategy it implemented when it acquired the investment-starved fab in 2021 and provided for massive investments in equipment and personnel. However, these investment plans have been cut short by the unexpected and wrongful divestment order made by the UK Government in November 2022.”

The company said the government order, combined with "weakness" in the global semiconductor market, led to at least 100 people at the site being fired.

Versluijs continued: "The site needs clarity about its future to avoid further losses, and today’s announcement provides this. Of all options, this agreement with Vishay is the most viable one to secure the future of the site as Vishay – like Nexperia – has a solid customer base for the fab’s capabilities.”

US-based Vishay was founded in 1962. The company has manufacturing plants in Israel, Asia, Europe, and the Americas where it produces rectifiers, diodes, MOSFETs, optoelectronics, integrated circuits, resistors, capacitors, and inductors. This week saw the company post Q3 2023 revenues of $853.7 million.

ATREG, Inc. served as Nexperia’s transaction advisor.