Technology: Hundreds of jobs saved after Nexperia forced to sell

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The UK’s largest microchip plant has been bought by an American company after a previous company was forced to sell over national security concerns.

Chinese-owned Nexperia was forced to sell 86% of its stake of Newport Wafer Fab by the UK government.

The site employs around 580 people, although recent plans to make 100 people redundant are still expected to go ahead.

The semiconductor manufacturer Vishay bought the plant for $177m (£1442m).

The UK government was concerned about national security over the Chinese-owned Company for two reasons.

The first related to Nexperia’s development of the Newport site, which the government said could “undermine UK capabilities” in producing compound semiconductors.

Secondly, the plant’s location as part of a semiconductor cluster on the Duffryn industrial estate, could “facilitate access to technological expertise and know-how”.

Vishay said it wanted to safeguard the “highly skilled and dedicated employees” in Newport.

Semiconductors, or chips, made at site are used in millions of electronic products, from smartphones to household equipment and cars.

The UK government used national security legislation to order Nexperia to sell its majority stake in the business, over concerns about its Shanghai-based parent company.

Correction 8 November, 2023: An earlier version of this story said the acquisition had reversed plans to make 100 workers redundant. The article has been updated to reflect that these 100 redundancies are still expected to go ahead.