The German government has blocked the acquisition of the chip factory belonging to Dortmund-based company Elmos because of national security concerns. The factory was to be bought by Silex, a Swedish company that is a subsidiary of Chinese group Sai Microelectronics.
„Especially in the semiconductor sector, it is important to us to protect the technological and economic sovereignty of Germany and Europe,” said Economics Minister Robert Habeck in a statement. “Of course, Germany is and will remain an open investment location, but we are not naive either.“
The German government said it must look at company takeovers closely, particular in the case of important infrastructure or when there is a risk that technology will be sold to buyers from non-EU countries.“
Elmos said that the ministry had previously indicated to the parties that the transaction would most likely will be approved.
Sai Microelectronics said it „deeply regrets“ the decision and will study the details to decide on any next steps.
Speaking to reporters after the decision, Habeck said China was making a „a deliberate, strategic approach to influencing both knowledge discovery and production control, particularly in the area of semiconductor and microchip manufacturing.“
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said Beijing had encouraged its companies to carry out win-win investment cooperation overseas.
„All countries, including Germany, should provide a fair, open and non-discriminatory market environment for the normal operation of Chinese enterprises and refrain from politicising normal economic and trade cooperation, not to mention protectionism on the grounds of national security,“ Zhao told a regular news briefing.