The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Foundry rankings; Samsung results; T.J. Rodgers resigns; ASE fans out.

popularity

Chipmakers
IC Insights released its foundry rankings in terms of sales in 2015. TSMC was the leader with $26.4 billion in sales last year. Second ranked GlobalFoundries, which took over IBM’s IC business in 2015, made some gains. With IBM’s chip unit, GlobalFoundries’ quarterly sales in 4Q ‘15 were about $1.4 billion, an annual run-rate of $5.6 billion, about 12% greater than the company’s 2015 sales of $5.0 billion, according to the firm.

Samsung’s revenues for the quarter increased 5.7% year-over-year, while operating profit jumped by 12%. For the semiconductor business, the memory unit showed solid earnings despite the seasonal lull. Earnings for Samsung’s Systems LSI Business increased, led by demand for 14nm products.

“Samsung guided 2016 CapEx to be up year-over-year, but expects DRAM CapEx to be down and display CapEx to increase. Similar to competitors, the company is planning to start 10nm foundry production towards the end of 2016. We continue to expect 2H:16 spending to be driven largely by 10nm ramp at multiple logic/foundries,” said Amit Daryanani, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, in a report.

Cypress Semiconductor announced that its CEO, T.J. Rodgers, will step down and that a search would be launched to replace him.

In a separate move, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE) has signed a deal to invest $60 million in Deca Technologies, a subsidiary of Cypress. As reported, ASE’s move to acquire SPIL has stalled. What is ‘plan B’? ASE will not only invest $60 million in Deca, but it will license Deca’s M-Series fan-out wafer-level packaging technologies and processes. As part of the agreement, ASE and Deca will jointly develop the M-Series fan-out manufacturing process and will expand production of chip-scale packages using this technology.

And in addition, Cypress and Broadcom announced the signing of a definitive agreement under which Cypress will acquire Broadcom’s Wireless Internet of Things (IoT) business and related assets in an all-cash transaction valued at $550 million. Under the terms of the deal, Cypress will acquire Broadcom’s Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Zigbee IoT product lines and intellectual property, along with its WICED brand and developer ecosystem. Broadcom’s IoT business unit, which employs approximately 430 people worldwide, generated $189 million in revenue during the last twelve months.

Fab tools and test gear
An investment firm called Neuberger Berman wants to shakeup Ultratech. The firm wants to install two board members at Ultratech. Ultratech issued a statement in response, saying it is disappointed by Neuberger’s moves and nominations.

Mask repair specialist Rave announced the establishment of a new corporate division called Advanced Micro Patterning (AMP). Rave formed the new division after acquiring certain assets of Intelligent Micro Patterning LLC (IMP). AMP will provide maskless lithography products to industry and academia. These products are based on the Smart Filter Technology and patents exclusively licensed from the University of South Florida. The new division will be able to immediately provide the SF-100 XCEL, SF-100 XPRESS and SF-100 XTREME products that were developed and commercialized by IMP. AMP will also provide support for past IMP customers who have already purchased these systems.

NI has announced the 7½-digit high-performance DMM and 1.8 MS/s isolated digitizer. The NI PXIe-4081 is the first PXI Express DMM available. It offers engineers the flexibility needed to tackle challenging applications in various industries.

Market research
According to Strategy Analytics, global smartwatch shipments grew 223% annually to reach 4.2 million units in the first quarter of 2016. Apple captured 52% global smartwatch market share, dipping from 63% share in the prior quarter. “Now that many Apple early adopters have their smartwatches and all of the holiday gifts have been unwrapped, it would seem the honeymoon for version 1 of the Apple Watch is over. Future traction for Apple Watch 2 will be closely linked to compelling apps that better exploit the usability of wearable tech, while offering autonomous 4G connectivity and enhanced battery life — all of which are in rather short supply today,” said Cliff Raskind, an analyst at Strategy Analytics.

The global tablet market began 2016 just as 2015 left off: down. Tablet shipments fell 10% to 46.5 million units during the Q1 2016, according to Strategy Analytics.

While liquid crystal display (LCD) technology is still the dominant technology in the display industry, OLED display shipments will grow 40% year-over-year to reach 395 million units in 2016. OLED display revenue is expected to increase by 25% to reach $15 billion in 2016, according to IHS Inc.

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