Chinese-owned Nexperia confirms acquisition of UK's largest chip plant

LONDON Nexperia is a Dutch chip company owned by China's Wingtech. It confirmed Monday that it intends to buy Newport Wafer Fab, the largest U.K chip producer.The announcement comes as two people who were close to the deal have told CNBC that the acquisition would be officially announced this week.Nexperia, the second-largest shareholder of NWF in 2019, stated that the acquisition will allow it to produce more chips and meet rising demand.Achim Kempe is Nexperia's chief operating officer. He stated in a statement that the Newport facility has an extremely skilled operational team, and plays a critical role to ensure operations continuity. We look forward to building our future together."Although the financial details of this deal are not public, two sources from CNBC said it was worth approximately 63 million dollars ($87 million).There are concerns that the U.K. may be selling a valuable asset to a Chinese-owned business at a time there is a chip shortage worldwide that could last until 2023.Tom Tugendhat is the leader of the U.K. government’s China Research Group and the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. He told CNBC Monday that he was surprised that the purchase has not been reviewed under the National Security and Investment Act. This law was introduced in April. He said, "Having been in contact with partners in America and around the globe, I know that I am not the only one."He stated that the legislation covers the semiconductor industry sector. Its purpose is to protect national technology companies from foreign takeovers that pose a risk to national security and economic growth. "When the U.K. signed Carbis Bay G7 communique we promised to take steps to increase economic resilience in critical global supply chain, such as semiconductors. It appears that this is an immediate and very public reverse of that commitment."Tugendhat said that the government has yet to "explain why we are turning our blind eyes to Britain's biggest semiconductor foundry falling into hands of an entity from another country that has a track-record of using technology for geopolitical leverage."