• In 2015, South Africa experienced a trade deficit of approximately R6,3 billion due to the high volume of imported advanced photonics manufacturing technologies. In an effort to revive the country’s photonics industry, the CSIR has established a Photonics Industry Network Forum that will ultimately be jointly led by South African photonics industry players. The objective for establishing this quarterly forum is to create awareness of the various photonics industry role-players, while identifying industry’s challenges and opportunities.
• ams enjoyed record revenues in 2018, up 34% year-on-year, and fourth quarter revenues and operating margin in line with updated expectations. Full year 2018 revenues grew strongly to $1 627,4 million while fourth quarter revenues reached $491,4 million. This growth was particularly driven by ams’ consumer business, including 3D sensing and advanced light sensing, in the second half of 2018.
• Cypress Semiconductor’s annual revenue grew 6,7% year-over-year to reach a record $2,48 billion, driven in large part by a 13% growth of the company’s automotive business. Net income for 2018 was $354,6 million ($0,95 per diluted share), which compares with a net loss in 2017 of $80,9 million ($0,24 per diluted share).
• NXP Semiconductors delivered greater than 5% growth in its automotive and secure connected devices businesses, resulting in total annual revenue of $9,41 billion for 2018, an increase of 2% year-on-year. Net income for the year was $2,21 billion ($6,72 per diluted share) compared to 2017 net income of $2,22 billion ($6,41 per diluted share).
• ON Semiconductor announced that total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $1,5 billion, up approximately 9% compared to the same quarter of 2017, but 3% down on the third quarter of 2018. For the full year, the company brought in revenue of $5,88 billion and earnings per share of $1,44.
• STMicroelectronics delivered a solid performance in the fourth quarter, with net revenues and operating income increasing sequentially 5,0% (to $2,65 billion) and 11,5% (to$443 million), respectively. However, the company warned that its outlook for the first quarter of 2019 is for revenues to decrease year-over-year by about 5,7% and sequentially by about 20,7%, reflecting the combined impact of increased unfavourable dynamics in some of the end markets it serves, on top of normal first quarter seasonality.
• Texas Instruments reported fourth-quarter revenue of $3,72 billion, net income of $1,24 billion and earnings per share of $1,27. For the full 2018 financial year, its revenue was $15,8 billion (compared to $14,96 billion in 2017), net income was $5,58 billion (compared to $3,68 billion in 2017) and earnings per share were $0,99 (compared to $1,01 in 2017).
• Infineon Technologies closed its December quarter with revenue down as forecast, and earnings slightly better than expected, citing slowing global economic momentum as dampening its outlook. Revenue totalled 1,97 billion Euros, a seasonal quarter-on-quarter decrease of 4%, while diluted earnings per share were 0,22 Euros, slightly better than the 0,20 Euros of the same quarter the previous year.
• STMicroelectronics has signed an agreement to acquire a majority stake in Swedish silicon carbide (SiC) wafer manufacturer Norstel AB. After closing, ST will control the entire supply chain for a portion of its SiC devices at a time of constrained global capacity, in order to position itself for a significant growth opportunity. ST will acquire 55% of Norstel’s share capital, with an option to acquire the remaining 45% subject to certain conditions, which, if exercised, will result in total consideration of $137,5 million.
• According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), the global semiconductor industry posted sales of $468,8 billion in 2018, the industry’s highest-ever annual total and an increase of 13,7% compared to the 2017 total. Annual sales increased substantially across all regions: China (20,5%), the Americas (16,4%), Europe (12,1%), Japan (9,2%) and Asia Pacific/All Other (6,1%).
• China has been the largest consuming country for ICs since 2005, but large increases in IC production within China have not immediately followed. That looks set to change, as IC Insights has revealed that IC production in China represented 15,3% of its $155 billion IC market in 2018, up from 12,6% five years earlier in 2013. Moreover, IC Insights forecasts that this share will increase by 5,2 percentage points from 2018 to 20,5% in 2023.