AN AMERICAN manufacturing company has today announced an agreement to take over Newport Wafer Fab.

Vishay Intertechnology announced they had entered an agreement to acquire Newport Wafer Fab from Nexperia for approximately $177 million (£144 million) today, Wednesday, November 8.

The 28-acre fab in Duffryn, Newport, mainly supplies automotive markets and is the largest semiconductor manufacturing site in the UK.

President and CEO Joel Smejkal said the company’s goal was to “safeguard the positions of the highly skilled and dedicated employees”.

“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," he said.

“We look forward to welcoming Newport Wafer Fab’s employees into Vishay and to partnering with local authorities and the Welsh and UK Governments to both ensure longterm growth for the fab and deliver value to our customers and stockholders."

Nexperia recently announced plans to reduce the number of employees at Newport Wafer Fab by at least 100, pointing to the UK Government’s divestment order in 2022 and “weakness” in the global semiconductor market.

“The site needs clarity about its future to avoid further losses, and today’s announcement provides this,” said Country Manager Toni Versluijs.

“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."

Newport West MP Ruth Jones said the take over should mark the end of a period of "indecision and uncertainty" caused by the UK Government's decision-making.

"We know from history that the ownership of Newport Wafer Fab has changed hands a number of times between businesses of varying repute and ambition," Ms Jones said.

"The test for VI will now be whether they can match the ambition of the workforce, retain and expand the capabilities of the site and secure the future of good jobs at Newport Wafer Fab for the long term."

'Set to explode'

Economy minister Vaughan Gething has heralded Vishay’s investment as a “great example of Welsh economic strength” and said he intended to meet with company representatives today to discuss their plans.

“Global demand for semiconductors is set to explode in the coming years and Newport is perfectly placed to turn that growth into more long term, quality careers,” he said.

“We are pleased to see Vishay’s intention to grow the workforce and further invest significant amounts in the Newport facility. This should end a period of uncertainty and we look forward to seeing the UK Government commit to support the Newport site in line with the UK Semiconductor Strategy.

“I confirmed yesterday that we are prepared to work with the UK Government to establish an Investment Zone in South East Wales that can provide further support for this key growth area.”

Vishay manufactures discrete semiconductors and passive electronic components that are used across the automotive, industrial, computing, consumer, telecommunications, military, aerospace, and medical markets.