Power Electronics

Strong Sales Results Indicate Continued Growth in Power Semiconductor Business

The latest quarterly announcements of financial results from power semiconductors vendors indicate continued growth in the industry, with many companies experiencing a 30% or greater increase in sales over the same period last year. In some cases, the companies broke their own records for revenue or order backlogs. Meanwhile, there were generally more modest gains in sales when comparing the results of this latest quarter with that of the prior quarter.

These encouraging results reflect the performance of companies focusing primarily on power management as well as ones with broader analog and mixed product offerings.

At the end of last month, International Rectifier, a company focused on power management, announced that revenues in the June quarter were $298.6 million, a 31% rise from the prior-year quarter and an 8% increase over the March quarter. The company notes that in the June quarter, it discontinued $14 million of commodity product revenues, which if counted in these revenues would have meant an overall growth rate of about 13%.

CEO Alex Lidow said, "Orders grew steadily throughout the quarter with June being the strongest month. Our backlog is the highest in the company's history. It has grown steadily every quarter for the past seven quarters, climbing to over $400 million, up 65% from $245 million in the prior year."

In July, Power Integrations, a supplier of energy-efficient, high-voltage integrated circuits used in power conversion, also announced financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2004. Its $35.9 million net revenues represent an increase of 21% over the second quarter of 2003. According to the company, second quarter results represent the highest quarterly revenue in the company's history. In addition, these latest second quarter revenues were up 5% from the first quarter of 2004.

Meanwhile, just this week, Siliconix, a subsidiary of Vishay Intertechnology, announced $120.7 million in sales for the second quarter of 2004, which is 37% more than the sales for the second quarter of 2003 and a 2% increase over the sales in the first quarter of this year.

Dr. King Owyang, Siliconix president and CEO, said, "Bookings remained very strong in the second quarter of 2004, with a book-to-bill ratio of 1.18, compared to 1.25 for the previous quarter. At the end of the quarter, our backlog was 16% higher than at the end of the first quarter. The broad-based demand that we noted last February and May, encompassing all of our major markets and all geographic areas, has continued. We did observe, however, a decline in bookings in June and July. It appears to us that this is a result of inventory correction and seasonal market forces, and it does not signal the end of the recovery that began in the third quarter of last year."

Siliconix manufactures power MOSFETs, power ICs, analog switches, and multiplexers for computers, cell phones, fixed communications networks, automobiles, and other consumer and industrial electronic systems.

In mid July, Fairchild Semiconductor reported results for its second quarter, which ended June 27, 2004. Fairchild’s second quarter sales rose to $414.3 million, 19% higher than the same period in 2003 and a 4% increase from the first quarter of this year. Profits and earnings also increased to their highest levels in three years. Power components were responsible for a significant portion of the growth.

“We continued to grow our power business and significantly improve our gross margins,” said Kirk Pond, Fairchild’s president, CEO and chairman of the board. “We increased power product sales to $306 million, up 28% from a year ago and 5% sequentially. Power products represented 74% of total sales in the second quarter, and their higher margins helped to drive our gross profits and earnings to the highest level in more than three years. Focusing on the power market has helped us to increase our total sales by more than 26% over the last three quarters.” Fairchild manufactures a mix of power, analog & mixed signal, interface, logic and optoelectronics products.

In July, Linear Technology reported net sales of $807,281,000 for its fiscal year ending June 27, 2004, which represents an increase of 33% over net sales of the previous year. Meanwhile net sales for the fourth quarter ended June 27 were $238,050,000—a 44% increase over that of the fourth quarter in the previous year.

Linear Technology produces high-performance amplifiers, comparators, voltage references, monolithic filters, linear regulators, dc-dc converters, battery chargers, data converters, communications interface circuits, RF signal conditioning circuits and many other analog circuits.

National Semiconductor reported in June that its fourth quarter sales were 34% higher than the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year and 11% higher sequentially than the third quarter of fiscal 2004. National points out that its fourth quarter included 13 weeks, compared to 14 calendar weeks in the third quarter.

National Semiconductor creates high-performance analog devices and subsystems, including power management circuits, display drivers, audio and operational amplifiers, communication interface products and data conversion solutions.

Another power component vendor with a broad portfolio of analog and mixed signal ICs, Maxim Integrated Products plans to release its financial results for the fourth-quarter and fiscal year 2004 after the close of the market on Friday, August 6, 2004. Results will be released over Business Wire and will be posted at the company’s website at www.maxim-ic.com/AboutMaxim/Investor.htm.

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