In Villach, Infineon invests 1.6 billion euros in the construction of a new semiconductor factory. The company plans to produce power semiconductors there in a fully automated production facility on 300-millimeter thin wafers. The start of production is scheduled for early 2021. In addition to the production line, the investment volume also includes a building complex for research and development, which will provide jobs for approximately 600 semiconductor experts.
Infineon’s new acquisition Siltectra fits nicely into the chip giant’s power semiconductor landscape: The start-up company has an innovative technology for processing silicon carbide (SiC) wafers. With this process, called Cold Split, the number of components per wafer can be doubled.
At the same time, Infineon presented its figures for the past quarter. For the first time, the chip manufacturer generated more than 2 billion euros in a single quarter. The operating result rose from 319 million euros in the previous quarter to 370 million euros now. For the 2018/19 fiscal year, Infineon forecast an increase in sales of 9 to 13 percent. In the past fiscal year, sales increased by 8 percent to 7.6 billion euros, exceeding both Infineon’s own targets and the expectations of the analysts surveyed by Reuters.
“We are starting the 2019 fiscal year with well-filled order books and intend to continue growing at an above-average rate,” said Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss when presenting the figures. Therefore, he does not expect a weakening of the business. “Structural growth in our core segments is continuing. This is why – unlike some of our competitors – we see no reason for major concern.” Only for the coming quarter does Ploss expect a seasonal decline in sales of around 4%.
The figures are presented in a market environment characterized by component shortages and supply bottlenecks. According to media reports, this shortage mainly affects customers in the automotive and automation industries. In an interview, Christoph Stoppok, Managing Director of the Electronic Components and Systems (ECEI) trade association, said that the supply situation in the automotive electronics sector was very tense, especially for sensors, on-board computers for engine control systems and driver assistance systems, right up to comfort functions. Not only semiconductor components are in short supply, but also passive components such as capacitors and resistors for the first time. The result is long delivery times.