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Peregrine files for $100 million IPO

November 22, 2010 // Mark LaPedus

Peregrine files for $100 million IPO

RF chip maker Peregrine Semiconductor Corp. has filed for a $100 million initial public offering (IPO) in the U.S., according to a filing.


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Peregrine (San Diego) devises chips based on silicon-on-sapphire technology. A form of silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, silicon-on-sapphire is formed by depositing a thin layer of silicon onto a sapphire wafer. This in turn creates an insulating sapphire substrate, which is said to have advantages over bulk silicon and gallium arsenide (GaAs) in RF applications.

The company's sales revenue grew from $38.2 million in 2006 to $53.4 million in 2007, and to $68.4 million in 2008. ''In 2009, our net revenue continued to grow to $70.5 million, but at a less rapid pace than the year prior,'' according to the filing. ''In 2007, 2008, and 2009, we incurred net losses of $33.1 million, $36.0 million, and $7.4 million, respectively. As of September 25, 2010, we had an accumulated deficit of $219.8 million.''

It appears to have turned the corner. In the nine months ended Sept. 26, 2009 and Sept. 25, 2010, it generated net revenue of $49.1 million and $67.6 million, respectively, representing year-over-year growth of 38 percent. During these nine month periods, the company generated a net loss of $8.3 million in 2009 and net income of $2.5 million in 2010.

''Our products were sold to more than 1,200 module manufacturers, OEMs, contract manufacturers, and other customers, including such companies as Amalfi Semiconductor, AnTS, Boeing, EPCOS, Hitachi Media, Hitachi Metals, Itron, JK Space, L-3 Communications, LG Innotek, Mini-Circuits, Motorola, Murata, Planet, Rohde & Schwarz, SIPAT, Skyworks, Source Photonics, Thales Alenia Space, and Wisol,'' according to the filing. ''According to third-party 'tear down' reports of handsets provided by UBM TechInsights, we believe our RFICs are also incorporated into products sold by LG, Samsung, and Sony-Ericsson.''

Peregrine has altered its foundry strategy in recent times. ''Prior to June 2008, we owned and operated a manufacturing facility in Sydney, Australia. In June 2008, after achieving volume outsourced production of our UltraCMOS products, we sold our ownership interest in our manufacturing operation to, and entered into an outsourced manufacturing arrangement with, Silanna Semiconductor,'' according to the filing.

Seeking to gain more traction for its silicon-on-sapphire technology in RF designs, Peregrine recently formed an exclusive joint development and foundry agreement with IBM Corp. Prior to the announcement, Peregrines foundry partners included MagnaChip, Oki/Rohm, Sapphicon and UMC. Now, fabless Peregrine has added IBM to the mix for its latest and greatest technology.

As part of the plan, IBM and Peregrine will jointly develop Peregrines next-generation, silicon-on-sapphire technology, based on a 180-nm process on 200-mm wafers. Peregrines technology, dubbed UltraCMOS, will be manufactured on a foundry basis within IBMs 200-mm fab in Burlington, Vt.

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