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IMI: en route to a stronger global presence

Posted: 27 Feb 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Zigbee? Integrated Microelectronics? M&A? automotive market? IMI?

Tan: I envision IMI transitioning into a multinational company in five years.

Arthur Tan, president and CEO of Integrated Microelectronics Inc. (IMI), has big plans for the Philippine-based company. "I envision IMI transitioning into a multinational company with its roots in the Philippines," he said. More than two decades in the industry, IMI has been flourishing as it takes on various strategies to grow.

IMI started as an IC assembler in 1980. Two years later, it expanded its business into contract manufacturing. Then in the late 1990s, it began offering design and product development services, thus transitioning to a complete EMS provider. In 2002, IMI established its first global sales office in Germany, spurring the company to establish itself globally. A year later, the company decided to implement a global expansion strategyto become "the best electronics manufacturing solutions provider for our global partners."

Guided by its vision statement, IMI acquired in 2005 the EMS assets of U.S.-based Saturn Electronics and Engineering Inc. That same year also saw IMI's merger with Singapore's Speedy-Tech Electronics Ltd.

Last year, IMI forged an alliance with BuS Elektronik, a German-based EMS company. Meanwhile, its most recent acquisition, M. Hansson Consulting Inc., expands the company's services with its test expertise.

Strategies for growth
To keep the ball of success rolling, IMI is continuously taking strategic steps. "We're constantly evaluating how we should do things to grow even faster, how to accelerate, how we position ourselves and what make us unique," said Michael Hansson, managing director of IMI's design and engineering services. The company is striving to become a $1 billion global EMS company by 2011.

To achieve this, one of the company's strategies is to increase its presence in the automotive, medical, industrial and telecom markets. "We have identified the product sectors that we should concentrate our efforts on," said Frederick Blancas, IMI's strategic and planning marketing manager. "We're also building our technical competencies to be able to serve [the automotive, medical, industrial and telecom] sectors."

Hansson said that there's a lot of work in the automotive industry. And it's been growing. Added Blancas, "Electronic content [in cars] is now 23 percent and growing into about 40 percent in five years."

Hansson also shared that they are doing more and more imaging, especially on the automotive side. Recently, IMI's design arm, Eazix, signed a product development contract with a Europe-based OEM for its automotive design platform.

In addition, IMI is conceptualizing a new program "to really try to capture what our customers will want us to do." Plans are not yet final, but "definitely, we're looking at building automation and security," Hansson said. "A lot of our customers are very interested in building networks, building automation security and full automation."

"Our wireless AMR [automatic meter reading] is also a very interesting applicationhuge," Hansson disclosed. "In terms of wireless, it's short-range. We're moving away from Wi-Fi and more into the Zigbee side."

Among the popular applications of IMI's Zigbee modules are building networks and automation security, as well as full automation due to the technology's low-power advantage.

Worldwide visibility
With 11 manufacturing plants and design/engineering centers in the Philippines, China, Singapore and the U.S., the company is eyeing expansion of facilities. "We will definitely expand in Vietnam within the year and in China within five years," Blancas assured. Moreover, he said that the company is also considering establishing presence in Eastern Europe. IMI is finalizing its expansion program, which is aimed to better leverage the Filipino company's global presence.

Besides these expansion projects, IMI is also considering to go public as one of their capital-raising options. "The public market is certainly one of the means that we consider for our strategic capital-raising options," said Tan. "We cannot say with certainty when or where we will go public, but what I can say is that we are preparing for it by continuing our integration process and firming up our plans for further organic expansion, and strategic mergers and acquisitions."

Indeed, IMI has made its mark in the global market, and is working its way on moving further up in the technology ladder. "The unique and strategic core competencies that we have developed over the past 26 years are allowing us to adapt and manage these conditions very well," Tan said. "We remain committed to our vision as we further enhance our global footprint, advanced manufacturing technologies, design and production development competencies, and quality and productivity systems in our quest for sustained growth and total stakeholder return."

- Maria Cecilia Carpena
Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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