Market News

EL SEGUNO, CA — Eight of the Top 10 semiconductor firms suffered revenue declines for the year, according to iSuppli Corp.
The research firm's 2008 reveal that the majority of the industry’s leading companies not only saw sales declines, they also underperformed the overall chip industry for the year.

iSuppli cited a focus on poorly performing markets as a common thread. Some 60% of the Top 25 semiconductor suppliers saw year-over-year revenues decline as well.

Dale Ford, senior vice president, market intelligence services, noted many of the hardest-hit suppliers focus on semiconductor segments that performed poorly during the year — memory, DSPs, analog ICs and standard logic.

Among the nearly 300 companies covered in iSuppli’s global semiconductor rankings, 43% achieved flat-to-positive growth during 2008.

But among the Top 25 suppliers, just 10 firms grew — no. 5 STMicroelectronics, no. 8 Qualcomm, no. 11 NEC Electronics, no. 14 Broadcom, no. 15 Panasonic, no. 18 Sharp Electronics, no. 20 Rohm, no. 22 Marvell Technology, no. 23 MediaTek and no. 24 Fujitsu — and only six actually increasing their sales organically. Qualcomm, NEC, Panasonic, Sharp, Marvell and Fujitsu — saw sales climb 1.5% to 15.3%.

No. 9 Hynix posted the largest revenue decline among the Top 25, at 33.4%, which dropped the memory maker three spots.

ARLINGTON, VA -- Electronic component orders continued to fall in February, but not as sharply as in January, according to the monthly index compiled by the Electronic Components Association. The 12-month average, comparing this year's results to last year's, continued a descent that began last summer.

Although the overall trend continued to be down there was a glimmer of hope from a couple of companies that reported orders above 2008 levels in the last week of the month.

"I believe the numbers show that the economic downturn is affecting different companies in different ways," said Bob Willis, ECA president, in a statement.
SAN JOSE -- Flextronics International, in a statement issued today, said it would cut an undisclosed number of jobs and close certain plants as company tries to rebound from a global slump. Flextronics' holdings include Multek, a global PCB supplier.

Flextronics also said it will move manufacturing capacity to lower-cost sites.

The company will take a pretax restructuring charge of $220 million to $250 million in its fiscal 2009 and 2010 years, including $190 million to $210 million to be booked in the fiscal year ending March 31. The moves are expected to saving $230 million to $260 million a year.

Flextronics did not disclose which plants would be shuttered or the number of employees that would be laid off. It is unclear whether the layoffs referred to by Flextronics include the recent reported closing of its Kuala Lumpur factory, which will reduce the company's headcount by nearly 1,400. The Daily Herald is reporting Flextronics has filed documents in Illinois indicating plans to close operations in Elk Grove Village by May, a move that would cost 113 jobs.

The company will file a Form 8-K with the SEC today containing additional information.

The company said $130 million to $150 million would be cash charges to cover employee benefits and severance. 

Flextronics has more than 160,000 workers scattered across 30 countries. In the December quarter, Flextronics laid off at least 1,650 workers and took a charge of $28.3 million.

MIDLAND, MI – In a deal that went down to the wire, Dow Chemical Co. will purchase Rohm & Haas for just over $15 billion. The two companies reached the agreement on the day they were scheduled to go to court over the delayed merger.
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BANNOCKBURN, IL --Calling the impact of the RoHS Directive "enormous, expensive and burdensome," IPC is calling for industry resistance to potential additions to the controversial environmental rules.

The trade group is asking companies to contact EU Council and Parliament officials "to prevent unwarranted RoHS regulations." Specifically, the trade group argues that the final revised RoHS Directive must not restrict Tetrabromobisphenol-A (TBBPA), the flame retardant used in more than 80% of printed circuit boards.

"If TBBPA is added to RoHS, the EU will be initiating a troublesome precedent by restricting a substance for political instead of scientific reasons. The Okö Institut, private consultants hired by the EU Commission, identified TBBPA for possible restriction under RoHS. TBBPA has undergone a comprehensive EU risk assessment that determined it is safe for the environment and human health," IPC said in a press release.

Nevertheless, an IPC task group last week closed voting on the draft of a pending standard limiting use of bromine -- a main constituent in TBBPA -- in certain electronics products. It is unclear why IPC is taking what seem to be contradictory positions on halogen -- in response to Circuits Assembly's questions in February, IPC said,
"There is a fundamental difference between non-voluntary legislation and voluntary standards. J-STD-709 standard does not state an IPC position.” However, critics of IPC's position have noted that standards are by definition intended to set industry requirements.

IPC is listing on its website ( analysis of the proposed RoHS review, instructions on how to contact EU officials, and a draft letter for EU officials. 
ANKARA, TURKEY -- A massive computer manufacturing plant planned by HP and Foxconn Technology Group is scheduled to commence production by 2010 and will employ about 2,000 workers, the companies said. 

The plant will be built in Çorlu, Turkey, and will have an annual capacity of 200,000 desktop PCs.
As previously reported, HP and Foxconn will invest about $60 million in the project.

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