NXP Semiconductors has a full menu of chips to choose from. The one-time semiconductor unit of Philips is one of the largest chip makers in the world. Analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs) from its huge product portfolio are used in everything from car radios and automotive networking systems to notebook computers and wireless base stations. The company also makes many types of general-purpose discrete semiconductors and logic devices. In addition to Philips, NXP's customers include Apple, Bosch, Delphi, Ericsson, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony. Customers in China account for about a third of sales. NXP went public in 2010.
Funds raised in the IPO were slated for repayment of debt, which was about $5.2 billion at the time. In addition, through private transactions the chipmaker has been able to cut its debt further, though at the end of 2011 it still carried $3.7 billion in long-term debt.
In 2011 sales were down 5% compared to 2010; product revenues were up nearly 4% year-over-year, offset by a 49% drop in manufacturing and other revenues, which were related to the expiration of contracts to provide manufacturing services for divested business. In its largest segment, sales of high-performance mixed-signal (HPMS) products rose 2%. Specifically, sales attributable to identification products were up nearly 19%, offset by sales in the mobile, consumer & communications business that were 9% lower. Sales in its standard products segment increased 9%. The company did not face the price drops that are common in the industry, primarily because of supply shortages across all of its standard products lines.
In spite of lower revenues for the year, NXP reported a profit of $390 million for 2011, compared to a loss of $456 million in 2010. The company attributes the swing to net income to lower cost of revenues, foreign exchange gains, and lower net interest expense. At end of 2011 NXP took actions to further reduce its cost structure, including closing two wafer fabrication facilities in the Netherlands and headcount reductions across Europe.
NXP has also shed product lines in order to cut costs. In an effort designed to strengthen its balance sheet and allow it to focus on mixed-signal IC operations, in 2011 NXP sold its Sound Solutions division (cell phone speaker and receiver components) to Dover subsidiary Knowles Electronics for about $855 million in cash. NXP will supply mixed-signal chips to Knowles under the agreement.
In 2010 Trident Microsystems acquired NXP's TV systems and set-top box portfolios. The deal improved Trident's position as one of the top three providers of both product lines and gave NXP a 60% stake in Trident. In early 2012 Trident filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; NXP announced the filing would not materially impact its financial results for the year.
NXP also made an acquisition in 2010, purchasing Jennic Ltd., a developer of radio-frequency (RF) products, for $8 million. Jennic's products are used for wireless applications in smart energy, environmental, logistics, and consumer markets. RF is a market NXP has targeted for growth.
NXP has operations in more than 25 countries, primarily located in Asia and Europe. Its top 40 direct customers account for nearly 40% of sales. The company's distribution partners -- including Arrow, Avnet, Mouser (a subsidiary of TTI), and Premier Farnell -- sell to another 30,000-plus customers. In addition, the company has an iPhone app that gives customers news and direct access to its entire product portfolio. – less