9 November 2023
Vishay to acquire Nexperia’s Newport Wafer Fab for $177m
Discrete semiconductor and passive electronic component maker Vishay Intertechnology Inc of Malvern, PA, USA has agreed to acquire Newport Wafer Fab in South Wales, UK from Nexperia B.V. of Nijmegen, The Netherlands (a subsidiary of Wingtech Technology Co Ltd) for $177m in cash. ATREG Inc, the Seattle-based global firm for initiating, brokering and executing the exchange of semiconductor manufacturing assets, served as Nexperia’s transaction advisors.
Located on 28 acres and the largest semiconductor manufacturing plant in the UK, Newport is an automotive-certified, 200mm wafer fab that supplies primarily automotive markets.
Picture: Newport Wafer Fab.
“Under new leadership in early 2023, Vishay set an ambitious goal of investing approximately $1.2bn in capacity over a three-year period in order to position the company to seize the opportunities created by the megatrends of e-mobility and sustainability needed for a Net Zero economy,” says president & CEO Joel Smejkal. “While this transaction is supplemental to our capex investment strategy, adding Newport Wafer Fab to our manufacturing footprint will be instrumental to achieving our goal of expanding capacity for our customers and to accelerating our SiC [silicon carbide] strategy,” he adds.
“By agreeing to acquire Newport Wafer Fab, our goal is to safeguard the positions of the highly skilled and dedicated employees and to invest the necessary capital to set up production for our SiC trench MOSFETs and diodes. 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” reckons Smejkal.
“For Vishay, acquiring Newport Wafer Fab brings together our capacity expansion plans for our customers in automotive and industrial end markets as well as the UK’s strategic goal of improved supply chain resilience. In addition to expanding capacity, we intend to collaborate with the Compound Semiconductor Cluster in South Wales and to join with key stakeholders committed to developing the semiconductor industry in the UK including university and community partners in the UK and particularly South Wales,” concludes Smejkal. “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 long-term growth for the fab and deliver value to our customers and stockholders.”
“Vishay’s board made a critical decision last year to pivot the company toward profitable growth under new leadership, leveraging the company’s solid cash flow generation, sound operational capabilities and broad product portfolio,” notes executive chairman Marc Zandman. “A key element of this strategic shift is the investment in technologies and incremental capacity to position Vishay to capitalize on the megatrends in e-mobility and sustainability. Acquiring Newport Wafer Fab demonstrates Vishay’s commitment to executing this strategic shift,” he adds.
“Nexperia would have preferred to continue the long-term strategy it implemented when it acquired the investment-starved fab in 2021 and provided for massive investments in equipment and personnel,” says Toni Versluijs, country manager Nexperia UK. “However, these investment plans have been cut short by the unexpected and wrongful divestment order made by the UK Government in November 2022. The UK Government’s order, in combination with a weakness in the global semiconductor market, recently led us to announce the intention to reduce the number of employees at the site by at least 100. The site needs clarity about its future to avoid further losses,” he adds. “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. For the site, Vishay’s commitment to further make the Newport Wafer Fab a success story is encouraging. Nexperia’s position with regards to the UK Government’s order remains unchanged.”
The closing of the Newport Wafer Fab transaction is subject to UK government review, the purchase rights of a third party, and customary closing conditions, and is expected to occur in first-quarter 2024.
Nexperia states that, while working to ensure that all conditions to the sale are met as soon as possible, it will continue to own and manage the site and support the employees.