Cirrus Logic's approach to computing is hardly wispy. The fabless semiconductor company, long a leader in audio chips of all kinds, develops integrated circuits (ICs) for specialized applications in consumer electronics, energy, and industrial equipment. Its more than 700 products include audio encoder/decoders (codecs), digital amplifiers, digital audio converters, and energy management devices. Under the Apex Precision Power brand, Cirrus provides ICs, board-level modules, and hybrids for high-power amplifiers. The company gets about 83% of its sales outside the US, primarily from customers in China and other Asian countries.
The company's 3,000-plus customers include Apple (47% of sales, mostly through multiple contract manufacturers) and distributor Avnet (about one-quarter of sales).
Revenue rose 67% in 2011 compared with 2010. By segment, audio products, which account for 72% of revenue, rose 72% over the same period, as a result primarily of higher sales of portable audio and surround codec products, while the energy products segment increased 56%, thanks mainly to strong sales of seismic, power meter, and power amplification products.
Goods that make use of the company's audio products include smartphones, Blu-Ray Disc players, digital mixing consoles, and automotive satellite radio systems. The company's energy products are found in applications that include digital utility meters, power supplies, lighting ballasts, and high-power systems.
Cirrus Logic focuses on portable audio products, such as smartphones, but it is also devoting effort to energy management and energy control, including power factor corrections, motor control, and lighting. The company holds about 1,100 US patents.
Cirrus Logic carries an accumulated deficit of more than $552 million, down from more than $733 million in 2010. It weathered a net loss in 2008 as a result in part of a restructuring charge, but the company recorded net income in 2007 and from 2009 to 2011. Year-over-year, that figure rose about 1005% in 2010 and about 430% in 2011.
The company operates its own assembly and test facility for its Apex product line in Tucson, Arizona. Other than this plant, Cirrus Logic outsources its manufacturing functions to various contractors, which make the company's chips, package them, and test the finished products.
Cirrus Logic has offices in China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the UK, and the US.