STMicroelectronics reports 2017 fourth quarter and full year financial results

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STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, reported financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2017.

STMicroelectronics, financial year, finance, quarterly results, report
Image for representational purpose only

Fourth quarter net revenues totaled $2.47 billion, gross margin was 40.6%, and net income was $308 million or $0.34 diluted earnings per share.

“ST delivered a strong finish to 2017. Fourth quarter net revenues were up 32.6% year-over-year with double-digit growth across all product groups, gross margin reached 40.6%, and operating margin was at 16.5%,” commented Carlo Bozotti, STMicroelectronics President & CEO. “On a sequential basis, fourth quarter revenues grew significantly better than seasonal at 15.5% and were 200 basis points above the high-end of our guidance, mainly thanks to higher than expected revenues in Imaging products and Microcontrollers.

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“Full Year 2017 net revenues increased 19.7% on strong growth across all product groups and geographies; gross margin expanded 400 basis points, operating margin increased 880 basis points to 11.9% and net income improved by $637 million to $802 million.

“This successful year also marked the 30th anniversary of the formation of ST. We celebrate this milestone with a solid product leadership in Internet of Things, Smartphones, Industrial and Smart Driving applications, a strong market position with major customers and in Distribution, a world-class team of engaged employees, a sustainable financial performance and an industry-leading return on invested capital.”

Financial Summary (US$ Million)

U.S. GAAP

(Million US$)

Q4 2017 Q3 2017 Q4

2016

FY 2017 FY 2016
Net Revenues 2,466 2,136 1,859 8,347 6,973
Gross Margin 40.6% 39.5% 37.5% 39.2% 35.2%
Operating Income 408 278 129 993 214
Net Income attributable to parent company 308 236 112 802 165
Net cash from operating activities 587 463 378 1,707 1,043

 

Non-U.S. GAAP(1)

(Million US$)

Q4

2017

Q3

2017

Q4

2016

FY

2017

FY

2016

Operating Income before impairment & restructuring charges 428 292 153 1,038 307
Free cash flow 145 80 135 338 316
Net financial position 489 446 513 489 513

(1) Non-U.S. GAAP measure. See Appendix for reconciliation to U.S. GAAP and additional information explaining why the Company believes these measures are important.

Quarterly Financial Summary by Product Group

Commencing in the fourth quarter of 2017, the Company transferred the Imaging Product Division, previously reported in Others, into the Analog and MEMS Group (AMG) to create the new organization Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group (AMS) led by Benedetto Vigna.

Product Group Revenues

(Million US$)

Q4

2017

Q3

2017

Q4

2016

FY

2017

FY

2016

Automotive and Discrete Group (ADG) 821 775 716 3,059 2,813
Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group (AMS) (a) 896 652 527 2,613 1,847
Microcontrollers and Digital ICs Group (MDG) 740 701 610 2,646 2,285
Others (b) 9 8 6 29 28
Total 2,466 2,136 1,859 8,347


Fourth Quarter Review
Fourth quarter net revenues increased 15.5% sequentially, a better than seasonal performance, and 200 basis points above the high-end of the Company’s guidance range mainly due to higher than expected revenues in Imaging products and Microcontrollers. On a sequential basis, Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group (AMS) revenues increased 37.4% led by the Imaging Product Division which registered, as expected, triple-digit sequential growth. Automotive and Discrete Group (ADG) revenues were up 5.9% and Microcontrollers and Digital ICs Group (MDG) revenues increased 5.6%.

On a year-over-year basis, fourth quarter net revenues increased by 32.6% on double-digit growth across all product groups with strong traction of new products. Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group (AMS) fourth quarter revenues grew 70.1% year-over-year due to triple-digit growth in Imaging, a sharp recovery in Analog and solid growth in MEMS. Microcontrollers and Digital ICs Group (MDG) fourth quarter revenues grew 21.4% year-over-year on very strong growth for general purpose microcontrollers, in part offset by lower sales of businesses undergoing phase-out. Automotive and Discrete Group (ADG) fourth quarter revenues increased 14.6% compared to the year-ago quarter on strong results for both Automotive and Power Discrete.

By region of shipment, revenues grew on a sequential basis across all regions. Specifically, Asia Pacific revenues grew by 24.5%, EMEA increased by 2.2% and the Americas was up by 0.4%. On a year-over-year basis, Asia Pacific revenues were up by 43.1%, EMEA increased by 21.5% and the Americas grew by 8.0%.

Fourth quarter gross profit was $1.00 billion and gross margin was 40.6%. On a sequential basis, gross margin increased 110 basis points due to improved product mix and increased manufacturing efficiency, partially offset mainly by normal price pressure and negative currency effects, net of hedging. Gross margin increased 310 basis points year-over-year largely driven by improved manufacturing efficiency and better product mix partially offset mainly by normal price pressure as well as negative currency effects, net of hedging.

Combined R&D and SG&A expenses were $592 million compared to $558 million and $570 million in the prior and year-ago quarter, respectively, increasing mainly due to seasonality and inflationary dynamics.

Fourth quarter other income and expenses, net, registered income of $18 million compared to $5 million in the prior quarter due to higher than anticipated R&D funding.

Impairment and restructuring charges in the fourth quarter were $20 million compared to $14 million and $24 million in the prior and year-ago quarter, respectively, mainly related to the set-top box restructuring plan announced in January 2016.

Operating income in the fourth quarter rose sharply on a sequential and year-over-year basis to $408 million compared to $278 million and $129 million in the prior quarter and year-ago quarter, respectively.  By product group, MDG operating margin increased to 19.6% from 17.9% in the prior quarter. ADG operating margin improved to 12.3% compared to 10.9% in the prior quarter. AMS operating margin expanded to 20.9% from 13.2% in the prior quarter, benefiting from an improved product mix, as well as leveraging higher revenues and improved manufacturing performance.

Fourth quarter operating income before impairment and restructuring charges(1) increased sequentially by $136 million to $428 million, equivalent to 17.3% of net revenues, driven by a higher level of revenues and improved gross margin and resulted in a return on invested capital of 35.7%. On a year-over-year basis, operating income before impairment and restructuring charges(1) increased by $275 million reflecting higher revenues, manufacturing efficiencies and improved product mix.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the Company recorded a one-time, non-cash charge of $46 million as a result of the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) in the United States. This charge results from the revaluation of the Company’s deferred tax assets as of December 31, 2017.

Fourth quarter net income increased significantly both on a sequential and year-over-year basis to $308 million, or $0.34 diluted earnings per share, compared to net income of $236 million, or $0.26 diluted earnings per share, in the prior quarter and net income of $112 million, or $0.13 diluted earnings per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Full Year 2017 Review
Net revenues for the full year 2017 increased 19.7% to $8.35 billion from $6.97 billion in 2016. By product group, full year 2017 Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group (AMS) revenues were up 41.4%, on triple-digit growth in Imaging and strong growth in both Analog and MEMS. Microcontrollers and Digital ICs Group (MDG) revenues increased 15.8% compared to 2016 on strong growth in general purpose microcontrollers partially offset by lower revenues for products undergoing phase-out. Automotive and Discrete Group (ADG) revenues increased 8.8% for the full year of 2017 compared to the full year of 2016 on growth in both Automotive and Discrete.

Full year 2017 gross profit was $3.27 billion. Gross margin improved by 400 basis points to 39.2% from 35.2% in full year 2016. Specifically, the 2017 gross margin benefited from manufacturing efficiencies, better product mix, and improved fab loading partially offset by normal price pressure.

Combined R&D and SG&A expenses increased 1.7% to $2.29 billion in 2017 compared to $2.25 billion in 2016.

Other income and expenses, net, registered income of $55 million in 2017 compared to $99 million in 2016 mainly due to a lower level of R&D grants.

In 2017, impairment and restructuring charges were $45 million compared to $93 million in 2016, mostly related to the set-top box restructuring plan.

(1)Non-U.S. GAAP measure. See Appendix for additional information and reconciliation to U.S. GAAP.

Operating income in 2017 improved by $779 million to $993 million compared to 2016. Full year 2017 operating income and operating margin before impairment and restructuring charges(1) increased sharply to $1.04 billion, equivalent to 12.4% of net revenues, compared to $307 million, equivalent to 4.4% of net revenues in 2016, on higher revenues, gross margin expansion and strong operating leverage.

Income tax expense in 2017 was $143 million, including the one-time impact related to tax reform in the United States, reflecting an effective tax rate of 15.0%. 

Full year 2017 net income was $802 million, or $0.89 fully diluted earnings per share, compared to net income of $165 million, or $0.19 fully diluted earnings per share for the full year 2016.

Cash Flow and Balance Sheet Highlights
Reflecting the strong growth in revenues and improvement in operating profitability, net cash from operating activities was $587 million and $1.71 billion for the fourth quarter and full year 2017, respectively. Full Year 2016 net cash from operating activities was $1.04 billion.

Capital expenditure payments, net of proceeds from sales, were $407 million and $1.30 billion during the fourth quarter and full year of 2017, respectively. Full year 2016 capital expenditures, net of proceeds from sales, were $607 million.

Free cash flow(1) was $145 million and $338 million during the fourth quarter and full year of 2017, respectively, favorably impacted by improved operating results and higher than expected revenues in the fourth quarter. Full year 2016 free cash flow was $316 million.

Inventory was $1.33 billion at December 31, 2017. Inventory in the fourth quarter of 2017 was at 4.4 turns or 82 days compared to 3.9 turns or 92 days in the third quarter.

The Company paid cash dividends to shareholders of $54 million and $214 million for the fourth quarter and full year 2017, respectively. In addition, the Company launched and completed over the course of 2017, a share buy-back program of 18.6 million shares for an aggregate amount of $297 million.

ST’s net financial position(1) was $489 million at December 31, 2017 compared to $446 million at September 30, 2017. At December 31, 2017, ST’s total financial resources were $2.19 billion; total financial debt was $1.70 billion; and total equity, including non-controlling interest, was $5.47 billion.

In 2017, ST issued a $1.5 billion dual-tranche offering at 0% of new senior unsecured convertible bonds due 2022 and 2024. The proceeds, net of the cost of the share buyback, were partially used to early redeem, via net share settlement, both the 2019 and the 2021 convertible bonds issued in 2014 for a total of $1 billion and 26.8 million shares from Treasury stock. As of the end of the year, the Company has significantly reduced its overall cash cost of debt to 0.44%.

Q4 2017 – Product and Technology Highlights

Automotive and Discrete Group (ADG) 

       Won a major award with multifunction ASSP Umbrella-Chip for a transmission with a major European customer;

       Captured a design win with the latest Chorus SPC58 32-bit automotive MCU, which contains the most advanced security subsystem, in a high-end body computer from a leading European premium car maker;

       Earned multiple design wins for electrification – battery management, on-board chargers, and DC/DC converters – for SPC5 32-bit automotive MCUs with top Tier1s in China, Europe, and Japan;

       Landed several design wins for power-management ICs in ADAS applications with major European and Japanese players;

       Landed awards for VIPower family for mid-power DC motor control with award for mechatronic power-lift gates from a worldwide leader;

       Extended penetration among global mobile manufacturer leaders with qualification of single-line ESD protection devices with a major Chinese mobile phone maker;

       Qualified new generation of Transil™ avalanche diodes in flat SMD package with a major disk-drive manufacturer;

       Gained multiple design wins for 650V and 1200V SiC diodes for server, lighting and EV applications;

       Won several design-ins with 3rd-generation 1200V SiC MOSFET for main inverter applications from three key European automotive customers, while continuing to win awards for 2nd-generation 650V and 1200V for DC-DC converters and on-board chargers at key European automotive players;

       Recorded multiple wins for super-junction MOSFETs in on-board chargers, EV chargers, and LEDs for a switched-mode power supply with top manufacturers;

       Earned a design win and order for new IGBT in an electronic ignition from global leader;

       Awarded a design win for 2nd-generation intelligent power module from a leading Asian air conditioning supplier;

       Won a design for low-voltage MOSFETs for 48V DC/DC converter and parking-brake projects from leading automotive players;

       Introduced Telemaco3P, a dedicated telematics processor with built-in security, and an open development platform to secure car-connectivity applications.

Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group (AMS)

       Kept strong momentum with 6-axis ultra-low-power series in mobile phone market by winning several sockets at key players in China;

       Won sockets for waterproof pressure sensors with design wins and production launches at 1st tier wearables players;

       Captured new business award in Automotive to develop a high-accuracy inertial motion-sensing combo from a Tier1 player to address highly assisted driving function;

•       Achieved record sales in Automotive sensing with strong contributions from car alarm and sensor-assisted driving systems; Ramped production of a new STSPIN motor driver with embedded 32-bit MCU for motion control in battery-operated robots and appliances;

•       Began production of advanced wireless-charging IC that enables faster charging of smartphones and tablets;

•       Launched new metering program with a major European provider;

•       Introduced a System-in-Package that includes full-bridge MOSFETs, gate drivers, and protection devices;

•       Won design with low noise low-drop out regulator from major Chinese smartphone makers;

•       Captured design award for a new power-management IC for printers from a major player;

•       Landed a design win for USB Type-C products from a French manufacturer.

Microcontrollers and Digital ICs Group (MDG)

       Acquired recognized Integrated Development Environment supplier Atollic to better support STM32 developers with powerful free design tools;

       Introduced STM32L4+ series of ultra-low-power microcontrollers with exceptional features and outstanding performance;

       Revealed that the STM32H7 series MCU combines new Platform Security Architecture from Arm® with advanced security features and services to boost protection for connected smart devices;

       Won slots for 15 STM32s in the bill-of-materials for a robotic lawn-mower platform at a key maker;

       Captured design wins for STM32L4 and L4+ in sport watches at a key OEM;

       Earned design-ins for STM32F103 in laptops as a touchpad controller from a major OEM;

       Landed wins for STM32F091 in the user interface for a consumer appliance at a leading OEM;

       Announced ST53G compact contactless module with boostedNFC™ Technology, extending secure payment to wearables; the module was a Trustech 2017 Sesame Award finalist;

       Revealed the ST25 NFC Tags have been certified by the NFC Forum and launched Software Development Kit for ST25 tags and dynamic tags;

       Began production ramp of ST25DV for an asset-tracking application at a major OEM and of an eSIM solution based on the latest ST33J 40nm Secure Micro in a tablet from a leading OEM;

       Ramped production of 2 new ASICs in 55nm BiCMOS for a key optical networking OEM.

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