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Update: 10 companies in trouble

Posted: 30 Sep 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:semiconductor industry? foundry? EDA? NOR flash?

EE Times published back in May a story highlighting 10 companies that, in our opinion, were in trouble.

We defined "trouble" as being in danger of continuing to spill red ink, being acquired, seeking bankruptcy protection or just not being around in current form a year from now.

Today, conditions in the semiconductor industry seem much better than they did in May. The fog has lifted; virtually everyone seems to agree that the worst is behind us. Though it may be an uphill climb to reach pre-crisis business levels, the sense is that the industry is on its way back. And the numbers back it up.

While the fortunes of virtually every semiconductor industry company have improved, many still face challenges. What follows is an updated version of 10 companies in trouble. Some companies have been removed since the last version, others remain. Still others have been added to the mix.

While the situation facing these companies may not seem as dire as it did in May, the companies that appear on the list still have (at least in the opinion of EE Times editors) some serious challenges to face and remain in danger of continuing to lose money. Some are still acquisition targets. Others face long-term challenges to their businesses that may prove insurmountable.

Remaining on the list this time around (for the reasons described below), are Advanced Micro Devices Inc., Freescale Semiconductor Inc., Infineon Technology AG, Magma Design Automation Inc., Renesas Technology Corp.-NEC Electronics Corp., and Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp.

Joining the list are Nokia, Motorola, NXP Semiconductor and the NOR flash supply chain.

Removed from the list since the last version were:

  • Automatic test equipment (ATE) vendorsThe capital equipment market is finally improving and ATE vendors are expected to benefit from delayed technology investments.
  • Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Pte. Ltd. Chartered is being bailed out by the Advanced Technology Investment Co. of Abu Dhabi, which proposes to pay $3.9 billion for Chartered and add it to GlobalFoundries Inc.
  • Taiwan DRAM vendorsIt's looking like the Taiwanese DRAM vendors will scrape by thanks to a rise in DRAM average selling prices over the past few months. (Plus, we are tired of beating a dead horse.)
  • Cadence Design SystemsTrouble is a relative term. Cadence is not the company it was a couple of years ago, when it was the long-running, undisputed leader in EDA. But neither is it teetering on the brink of financial ruin. Business has stabilized, analysts say the balance sheet looks reasonable, and Cadence remains the dominant player in some product areas, notably analog EDA.

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