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Chinese takeover of biggest UK chip plant blocked
Published on: 2022-11-18
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The U.K. government has blocked the takeover of the country’s largest microchip factory by a Chinese-owned firm over concerns it may undermine national security.
 

Grant Shapps, minister for business, energy and industrial strategy, on Wednesday ordered Dutch chipmaker Nexperia to sell its majority stake in Newport Wafer Fab, the Welsh semiconductor firm it acquired for $75 million.
 

Nexperia is based in the Netherlands but owned by Wingtech, a partially Chinese state-backed company listed in Shanghai. Nexperia completed its acquisition of Newport Wafer Fab in 2021, and the firm subsequently changed its name to Nexperia Newport Limited, or NNL.
 

Nexperia had initially owned 14% of Newport Wafer Fab, but in July 2021 it upped its stake to 100%.
 

“We welcome foreign trade & investment that supports growth and jobs,” Shapps tweeted Wednesday. “But where we identify a risk to national security we will act decisively.”
 

Toni Versluijs, Nexperia’s U.K. country manager, said the decision was wrong and that the company plans to appeal.
 

“We are genuinely shocked,” Versluijs said in a statement Wednesday. “The decision is wrong, and we will appeal to overturn this divestment order to protect the over 500 jobs at Newport.”
 

Government officials and lawmakers expressed concerns that the U.K. was selling a prized asset to a Chinese-owned company at a time of global shortages in semiconductors, which are still ongoing and are expected to last until 2024.
 

Britain launched a national security probe into the Nexperia deal earlier this year, using powers that allow it to review and block foreign takeovers or investments in sensitive sectors.
 

The government said Wednesday that the location of the Newport facility, which is part of a strategically important cluster of semiconductor expertise in Wales, ultimately led to the view that the takeover was a national security concern.
 

中资公司收购英国最大芯片厂受阻

11月16日,荷兰商务部长格兰特•夏普斯下令中资拥有的荷兰芯片制造商Nperia出售其在Newport Wafer Fab的多数股权。
 

Nperia总部位于荷兰,但其所有者为在上海上市的一家部分由当地政府支持的公司Wingtech;而Newport Wafer Fab经营着英国最大的芯片制造工厂,每月生产约3.2万片硅片。
 

此前,英国政府阻止了这家中资背景的荷兰公司收购该国最大的微芯片工厂,原因是担心这可能会破坏国家安全。
 

英国政府在一份声明中表示:“我们要求Nperia BV在规定的期限内,按照规定的流程,至少出售NNL 86%的股份。”
 

Nperia最初拥有Newport Wafer Fab 14%的股份,但在2021年7月,它将持股比例提高到100%。

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