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Electronics news digest
31 August 2011, News

South Africa

JSE listed electrical distributor, ARB Holdings, announced its annual financial results for the year ended 30 June 2011. The group grew revenue by 16% to R1,26 billion, while gross profit margin improved from 18,4% in 2010 to 18,7% in 2011 with operating profit climbing 14%. Headline earnings per share for the full year of 30,6 cents reflects growth of 5% compared to the prior year. A final dividend of 12,25 cents per share was declared, payable to shareholders on 5 September 2011.

Component Sources has secured a sole South African agency agreement with Fibercan Optical, a manufacturer of fibre-optic products such as connectors, pigtails, patch cords, midcoupler/adapters, splice cassettes, splitters and media converters. Component Sources is currently stocking a comprehensive range of Fibercan’s products and offers a five to 10 day turnaround on all out-of-stock items.

Cinterion Wireless Modules has moved into the premises of its holding company, Gemalto SA. The physical address is 39 Galaxy Avenue, Linbro Office Park, Johannesburg; the new telephone number is +27 (0)11 458 0000. All e-mail addresses remain unchanged.

Times Microwave Systems (TMS), a specialist in the design and manufacture of high-performance flexible and semi-rigid coaxial cable, connectors and cable assemblies, and Webb Industries, the sole distributor of TMS products in southern Africa, have issued a stern warning in regard to violations of TMS’ LMR trademark. According to Webb MD, Paul Richards, there have recently been flagrant violations of the LMR trademark (which identifies flexible communications coax cable produced by TMS only) by unnamed South African companies. Webb’s statement asserts that the LMR mark may not be used as an identifier of cables or communication products of any business other than TMS; nor may it be used as a generic term for cables used in wireless communication applications.

Overseas

Business

Net sales for Freescale Semiconductor’s second quarter of 2011 were $1,22 billion, compared to $1,19 billion in the first quarter of 2011 and $1,11 billion in the second quarter last year. Net loss for the second quarter of 2011 was $168 million, or $.0,79 per share, compared to a loss of $148 million, or $0,75 per share, in the first quarter of 2011 and a loss of $538 million, or $2,73 per share, in the same period last year.

Kontron achieved revenue of 275,3 million Euros in the first half of 2011, compared with 213,8 million Euros in the first half of 2010. EBIT totalled 18,7 million Euros in the first half-year, while net income was 12,9 million Euros.

Revenue for Sierra Wireless’ second quarter of 2011 was $139,9 million, a decrease of 12% compared to $159,1 million in the second quarter of 2010, and a decrease of 3% compared to $144,3 million in the first quarter of 2011. Mobile computing business contributed $66,0 million, down 13% compared to $75,5 million in the second quarter of 2010. Machine-to-machine revenue was $73,9 million, down 12% compared to $83,6 million in the second quarter of 2010. Net loss was $6,8 million, or $0,22 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2011, compared to a net loss of $8,6 million, or $0,28 per diluted share, in the second quarter of 2010.

Altera announced second quarter sales of $548,4 million, up 2% from the first quarter of 2011 and up 17% from the second quarter of 2010. Second quarter net income was $214,6 million ($0,65 per diluted share) compared with $224,1 million ($0,68 per diluted share) in the first quarter of 2011 and $180,6 million ($0,58 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2010.

Zarlink’s first quarter fiscal 2012 revenue was $55,4 million, compared to $54,8 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and $58,7 million in the first quarter of 2011. Net income in the most recent quarter was $2,4 million or $0,02 per share, significantly lower than the $17,0 million or $0,14 per basic share and $0,11 per diluted share recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011, which included an income tax recovery of $13,7 million primarily due to a reduction in valuation allowance related to deferred tax assets.

MIPS Technologies registered a disappointing fiscal fourth quarter, with revenue of $17,6 million, compared with $23,3 million in the year ago period. Revenue from royalties decreases 5% from a year ago, while licence revenue was down 47%. GAAP net income in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011 was $0,7 million or $0,01 per share, compared with $5,9 million or $0,12 per share in the fourth quarter a year ago. Despite this, the company achieved a 16% annual revenue increase to $82 million.

NXP Semiconductors reported financial results for its second financial quarter ended 3 July. Total revenue from continuing operations was $1121 million, an increase of 0,2% from the figure reported in the second quarter last year and an increase of 3,6% from the first quarter of 2011. Net income for the second quarter of 2011 was $84 million or $0,33 per share (diluted). This compares to a net loss of $362 million, or $1,68 per share, reported in the second quarter of 2010, and net income of $187 million or $0,73 per share (diluted) reported in the first quarter of 2011.

Maxim reported record net revenue of $626,5 million for its fiscal 2011 fourth quarter ended 25 June, a 3% increase from the $606,8 million recorded in the prior quarter. GAAP diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0,41, down from the $0,45 achieved in the previous quarter.

Silicon Laboratories reported a 5,5% sequential increase in second quarter revenue to $126,2 million. Fully diluted GAAP earnings per share were 29 cents. The company’s performance was driven by growth in all three of its main product lines – access, broadcast and broad-based – the latter of which enjoyed a record quarter.

Companies

Following Microsemi’s third unsuccessful offer to acquire Zarlink, the latter company’s board of directors has, in an apparent ‘poison pill’ tactic to prevent a hostile takeover, adopted a ‘shareholder rights plan’ which prevents any person from acquiring beneficial ownership of the right to vote more than 20% of Zarlink’s outstanding voting shares or from entering into arrangements that have a similar effect.

Industry

In 2011, IDTechEx research estimates that the amount of money spent on energy harvesters will be $0,7 billion, but this will grow into a market of $4,4 billion 10 years from now. That includes 250 million sensors powered by an energy harvester (at an average price of $6 per harvester), and by then numerous consumer electronics devices including laptops, ebooks and cellphones. Although solar cells and dynamos currently dominate in terms of energy harvesting technologies employed, thermoelectrics and piezoelectrics are expected to even the score in terms of market share by 2021.

The current global market for interface products is valued at an estimated $5,9 billion, and it has the potential to exceed $9,2 billion by 2016, according to Databeans research. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9% for the forecasted period. The current interface market, including analog ICs, digital interconnect components and USB controller products, will see much slower growth for revenue and units shipped as compared to last year, with slightly more decline expected ahead for 2012; however suppliers should keep looking forward in anticipation of the future upturn beyond that – which will be substantial, coming as a result of increased demand from the application segments for communications, consumer and computing electronics.

The Serial ATA International Organisation (SATA-IO) announced a new standard for embedded solid state drives (SSDs). The SATA μSSD specification eliminates the module connector from the traditional SATA interface, enabling developers to produce a single-chip SATA implementation for embedded storage applications. The specification defines a new electrical pin-out that allows SATA to be delivered using a single ball grid array (BGA) package which sits directly on the motherboard, supporting the SATA interface without a connecting module. This enables the physically smallest SATA implementation to date, making it an ideal solution for embedding storage in small form factor devices.

In another sign of the technology industry’s fundamental shift away from PCs and toward mobile communications, the wireless segment is expected to overtake computers to become the world’s leading application market for semiconductor purchasing by OEMs starting in 2011. Driven by booming sales of smartphones and tablets, OEMs in 2011 will buy $55,4 billion worth of semiconductors for use in wireless devices, up 10,7% from $50,1 billion in 2010, according to IHS iSuppli. By contrast, OEMs will spend $53,1 billion on semiconductors used to make computers, up a scant 1,2% from $52,5 billion in 2010.

IC Insights has lowered its worldwide semiconductor industry growth forecast for 2011 from 10% to 5% and the 2011 IC market growth forecast from 10% to 4%, citing the weak performance of the worldwide economy in the first half of this year as the primary reason.

According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), worldwide sales of semiconductors were $24,7 billion for the month of June 2011, a 1,5% decrease from the prior month when sales were $25 billion and a 0,5% decrease from a year ago. Sales in the second quarter were down 2% compared to the prior quarter. Despite this contraction in sales, the industry saw a 3,7% increase in the first half of 2011 sales compared to the same period last year which saw record breaking growth. The SIA believes that overall semiconductor sales are on track with its projections of 5,4% growth for 2011.


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