Microphone glitch hit ST's analog, MEMS sales in 2015

February 05, 2016 // By Peter Clarke
STMicroelectronics NV saw its sales of analog and MEMS chips decline by 22 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 and by 12 percent on a full year basis, partly due to a problem with the supply of microphones to customers, according to chief financial officer Carlo Ferro.

STMicroelectronics NV is attempting a transition away from sales for its analog and MEMS business unit being dominated by smartphone applications. The company reported declining sales for the unit in its 4Q15 and full year financial results partly as a result of this transition which also affected the business unit in 2014.

 

For the fourth quarter of 2015 ST reported sales for the analog and MEMS segment of $207 million, down 11.2 percent from $233 million in the previous quarter and down 22.2 percent compared with $266 million in the same quarter a year before. As a result ST's analog and MEMS sales revenue for the full year dipped below $1 billion and recorded $968 million in 2015, down 12.2 percent from $1,102 million in 2014.

ST chief financial officer Carlo Ferro said that sales in analog and MEMS business was hurt during 2015, on a temporary basis, by a specific issue with a supplier that delayed ST's ability to ramp MEMS microphone sales to major customers. Ferro did not provide detail of the problem but it is possible that ST outsources the manufacture of a signal conditioning ASIC and then packages that with a MEMS device that it makes.

ST CEO Carlo Bozotti acknowledged the poor results during a conference call with analysts to discuss the financial results saying: "Our analog, MEMS and sensor business continued to go through a difficult revenue transition in 2015. However, during the year, we made progress building a more diversified portfolio and broader customer base that should ultimately allow a gradual return to growth." He also said: "We grew our automotive MEMS business with sensors for in-car navigation and telematics applications, and with first shipments for airbag applications. We also had motion MEMS wins in active safety for vehicle dynamic control applications. This led us to be identified by IHS as the fastest growing automotive sensor supplier."

ST said in a statement