«It was not easy to overcome the hard phase of confinement and the peak of the pandemic. But now StMicroelectronics, one of the leading microchip groups in the world (number one in Europe), looks to the future with confidence ». Yesterday the Franco-Italian joint venture presented the first half of the year. Jean-Marc Chéry, 60 years old, CEO of the group, shares his optimism with La Stampa.
The second quarter was closed with a net profit of 90 million euros, almost half of a year earlier. And the turnover decreased by 6.5% compared to January-March. What went wrong?
«In reality, despite the difficulties, it went better than expected. We suffered from supplies to the auto industry, as well as analog and digital imaging products. But we have compensated, at least in part, with the growth of microcontrollers, digital integrated circuits and discrete power components ».
In the third quarter, however, you already expect an increase in turnover of 17.4% compared to the previous three months. How?
«We aim for a recovery for all types of our products. And this will be particularly strong not only for supplies to smartphone manufacturers but also to manufacturers of electric cars, a sector that will see a big recovery ».
For gross margin, is there a decline at the end of the year compared to 2019?
“We should be slightly above 37%, against 39% in 2019. But it is inevitable, because we started 2020 with growth forecasts for the global semiconductor market of 6-7%, while it should drop by 5-7% for the Covid and the US-China trade war. “
Will the coronavirus have negative effects on the $ 2.5 billion investment you are making in Agrate Brianza?
“It is a factory for the production of 300mm silicon wafers. During the two months of confinement, the works stopped. There will be a delay, but we have resumed. A first industrial pilot unit in the plant will be operational between late 2021 and early 2022 “.
There is much (and often bad) talk about states as shareholders of industrial groups. They would slow its development. You are a good example of the opposite …
“Absolutely. StMicroelectronics is controlled in equal parts by the two states, Italian and French, which have given us the means for organic growth. And if we want, with new acquisitions, to exceed the threshold of $ 12 billion in revenues, I believe that we will have the support of our two main shareholders will give us the chance »