Batteries - Will government use the NSI for industrial policy reasons

On 16 November 2022 the government used its powers under the National Security and Investment Act 2021 ordering Nexperia BV (a Dutch company ultimately owned by a Chinese company) to sell its controlling equity interest in Newport Wafer Fab (a UK based semi-conductor chip producer). 

The fundamental basis for the order, pursuant to the Act, should be a concern about national security. Commentators suspect there is a significant industrial policy influence to the government's consideration of the matter, even though those same commentators argue the thinking is wrong as Newport's technology is not regarded as industry leading and so should not be relevant to the government's industrial policy.

Britishvolt - the UK based gigavolt car battery company that has for some time remained in the planning stage for building the factory - has had financial challenges. DeaLab Group (which according to the Financial Times newspaper is an Indonesia-linked investment fund), has made a proposal to buy-out the current owners. Three early investors in Britishvolt have submitted a counterbid.  

It will be interesting to see how government reacts to the possibility of a foreign takeover of Britishvolt, a company that at its inception was an example of government industrial policy ambitions. Is it a national security concern that the only credible potential UK automotive gigavolt factory could be owned by an Indonesian-linked investment fund?

"Britishvolt shareholders pitch rival bid to thwart Indonesian takeover"


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