Declaring "the boom is over," Infineon is looking for strategic investments to position itself for future growth
Infineon Technologies’ revenues remained flat in its latest quarterly results, with only 1% sequential growth, to €1.98 billion (US $2.2 billion) for the period ending 31 March 2019. The outlook for the next quarter is also flat.
Infineon CEO Reinhard Ploss, said, “The boom is over for the time being, the momentum in demand has weakened. At the end of March, we responded to this trend by adjusting our outlook for the year and prepared for a lower level of growth. At the same time, we have acted consistently to successfully manage the current cycle and cut costs.” He added that the company would continue to pursue strategic investment initiatives driven by the long-term prospects in key target markets such as electromobility, autonomous driving, renewable energy, data centers and mobile communications.
Revenue was up in its automotive and digital security solutions segments, marginally down in its the industrial power control segment and more significantly down in the power management & multimarket segment. It also said the insolvency of Qimonda and its discontinued operations resulted in a net loss of €18 million during the quarter.
Infineon said automotive growth during the last quarter was achieved on the back of higher demand for electric drivetrain products and driver assistance systems. Its digital security segment revenue grew by 10% quarter-on-quarter mainly due to growth in the payment card business; revenue from embedded SIMs (eSIM) for vehicles also increased noticeably compared to the previous quarter.
In its industrial group, the quarterly decrease was mainly attributable to lower demand for industrial drives, photovoltaics and home appliances, while demand in the areas of traction and wind increased. For power management, the decrease reflects weaker demand in most product areas: inventories of power supply components for a broad range of end applications remain at a high level throughout the supply chain. Products for mobile devices were impacted by the usual seasonal downturn.
For the 2019 fiscal year as a whole, Infineon expects to generate revenue of €8.0 billion, plus or minus 2%, corresponding to a forecast increase of just over 5% over the previous fiscal year. This will be driven by automotive and industrial power control revenue growth.
New Chip Embedded Power MOSFET Technology
This week, Infineon and Schweizer Electronic AG announced they had developed chip embedding for power MOSFETs, a new technology for the mild-hybridization of cars. They claim it will significantly improve the performance of 48 V systems while reducing their complexity, and Continental Powertrain will be the first to adopt the technology.
It’s thought that embedding power MOSFETs will open a new chapter of possibilities for the electrification of mild hybrid cars. With chip embedding, power MOSFETs are no longer soldered onto a circuit board but integrated within. The resulting thermal benefits allow a higher power density and board integration enables further improvements in system reliability. These advantages are supposed to result in higher power or more cost effective 48 V systems.
As a first application, Continental Powertrain will implement the new technology in a 48 V starter generator for vehicles from a major European carmaker. Continental Powertrain said chip embedding allows them to increase electrical power by 60% compared to a traditionally designed system. 48 V starter generators can be a key contributor to the reduction of up to about 15% CO₂ achieved by a mild hybrid vehicle compared to a conventional drive train. They allow the engine to be stopped more often and for a longer duration than a 12 V based start-stop-system. They can also boost acceleration and thus reduce load on the combustion engine. During braking they recover more of the kinetic energy than a 12 V system.