Soitec SA (Grenoble, France), which several years ago diversified into supporting solar power as well as integrated circuit manufacture from its base as a producer of silicon-on-insulator engineered wafers, has decided to refocus on electronics in anticipation of an upturn in demand for RFSOI and FDSOI wafers.
On Jan. 16, 2015, the board of directors unanimously decided to immediately implement and support a strategic plan which aims to re-focus Soitec activities on its core electronics business.
Andre Jacques Auberton Herve, one of the co-founders of the company and who has served as CEO and chairman of the board, will step down as CEO while remaining chairman of the board. Paul Boudre, who has served as chief operating officer since June 2008 and has worked on developing the electronics business, becomes CEO.
Soitec announced consolidated sales of €48.0 million (about US$55.8 million) for the third quarter of its financial year, up 45 percent year-on-year.
However, the electronics segment, which represents the majority of the business at €44.3 million (about $55.1 million) reported a 36.3 percent revenue increase on a yearly basis. For the fourth quarter of the financial year electronics sales are expected to increase to $65 million.
Soitec said that markets dedicated to mobility and smartphones continue to deliver growth based on demand for RFSOI circuits. The company's 200mm wafer sales almost doubled to €29.4 million (about $34.2 million) and represented 75.6 percent of total wafers sales. The sales of 300mm diameter wafers were up by 16.1 percent to €10.3 million (about $12.0 million).
In terms of the fiscal fourth quarter outlook the smartphone-driven RFSOI is expected to increase with the market expending 30 percent on an annual basis. The initial ramp of 28nm FDSOI is expected to start in the second half of 2015, Soitec said.
As a result of Soitec's plan to refocus on electronics, it has initiated efforts to restructure the solar energy business and realize the value.
Soitec has taken cost cutting actions by reducing headcount by around 100 people in the United States. Further cost cutting measures will be implemented.
Soitec sad that it expects the operating loss in the second half of the financial year to be about the same as that recorded in the first half and it also expects to record a significant impairment charge in the second half of the current financial year.
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