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Business secretary delays Newport Wafer Fab investigation verdict

Newport Wafer Fab Investigation

The conclusion of the government investigation into the sale of semiconductor plant Newport Wafer Fab to Chinese-owned chip company Nexperia has been delayed by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

A final decision was expected to be made on Tuesday after the Nexperia boss was questioned by parliament. Kwarteng has instead delayed the decision by 45 working days.

The government launched a probe into the acquisition of the Wales-based chip maker after security concerns were flagged by ministers over Nexperia’s parent company Wingtech, a firm listed in Shanghai with ties to the Chinese state.

Nexperia’s Toni Versluijs urged a swifter conclusion to the investigation yesterday, saying “it was in everyone’s interests to get clarification”.

Versluijs said that Netherlands-based Nexperia had already invested millions in Newport chip plants, assuring parliament that there were no plans to move operations of the Welsh company outside the UK.

“We have invested big time in Manchester and Newport,” he said. “We are here to stay. We want to work in the local ecosystem and enable the local ecosystem and the UK semiconductor industry to be successful.”

He also said that employees were beginning to fear for their jobs.

Versluijs said: “Last Friday one young lady in Newport stepped into her general manager’s office and said, ‘look I’ve just bought a new house…After this review will I still have a job?'”

Relations between the UK and China, combined with the importance of semiconductor manufacturing amid global shortages, have complicated the National Security and Investment (NSI) investigation of Newport Wafer Fab.

Semiconductors are vital for the manufacturing of all manner of electronics, including phones, cars, video game consoles and more.