- Silicon carbide (SiC) substrate manufacturing facility in Catania to fulfill the increasing demand for SiC in EVs.
- Strong demand for factory automation, energy and robotics will be the key growth drivers for the Industrial segment in 2023.
- STMicro expects 2023 revenue of $16.8 billion-$17.8 billion, setting the company on course for its revenue target of more than $20 billion.
Franco-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics (STMicro) reported stronger-than-expected Q4 2022 net revenue growth in its Automotive and Industrial segments. Meanwhile, the company’s Personal Electronics segment faced weakness. STMicro aims to internally source a significant portion of its substrates by 2024 as it continues to ramp up the production of SiC front-end devices at its Singapore facility.
- STMicro’s Q4 2022 net revenue rose 24.4% YoY to $4.42 billion, primarily driven by the strong demand in its Automotive and Industrial segments.
- Gross margin improved 230bps YoY in Q4 2022 to 47.5% due to favorable pricing and improved product mix, net of hedging. However, it weakened by 20bps on a QoQ basis due to higher manufacturing input costs.
- Automotive: Unprecedented demand across the Automotive segment due to the increase in EV adoption and improvement in semiconductor content. The company is also ramping up its production capacity for transistors used in EVs and has announced a partnership with Volkswagen to jointly develop a system on chip MPU. STMicro ended 2022 with 115 projects, of which 60% were from automotive customers.
- Industrial: STMicro’s Industrial segment also secured some design wins in both silicon-based and wide band-gap-based devices. In 2022, the company introduced various industrial analog products for factory automation, metering, motion control and home appliances.
- Personal Electronics: Ongoing trade tensions and supply-chain issues have hurt STMicro’s Personal Electronics. The company is leveraging its broad portfolio to target wearables and gaming accessories. It also has numerous smartphone design wins relating to motion sensors, wireless charging, display controllers and secure microcontrollers.
- Automotive and Discrete Group (ADG): Q4 2022 revenue jumped 38.4% YoY to $1,696 million helped by growth in both automotive and power discrete segments.
- Analog, MEMS and Sensors Group (AMS): Q4 2022 revenue increased 7% YoY to $1,339 million with growth in analog, MEMS and imaging segments.
- Microcontrollers and Digital ICs Group (MDG): Q4 2022 revenue rose 29.1% YoY to $1,383 million helped by growth in both microcontrollers and RF communications segments.
- Forecast: Q1 2023 net revenue is expected to be around $4.1 billion, a decrease of 5.1% QoQ, plus or minus 350 basis points. For FY2023, revenue is forecast to rise 4%-10% YoY to $16.8 billion-$17.8 billion with the primary growth expected from the Automotive and Industrial sectors.
- Demand and supply: Although the demand for automotive and industrial products was high in Q4 2022, supply-chain issues still posed a hiccup with continuing shortages and capacity constraints. At the end of Q4 2022, inventory was $2.58 billion compared with $1.97 billion in the year-ago quarter. Day’s sales of inventory at Q4-end were 101 days compared with 91 days in the year-ago quarter. The Automotive segment saw an unprecedented demand across all topographies driven by increasing semiconductor and inventory replenishment. For Q1 2023, backlog is expected to be higher than that in Q1 2022.
- Capital spending and investment: Capital spending in Q4 2022 was $920 million, compared with $548 million in the year-ago quarter. The company is planning to invest about $4.0 billion, of which 80% is mainly targeted towards increasing 300mm wafer production. The company is continuing to ramp up SiC front-end device production in Catania and Singapore with increased back-end manufacturing capacity in Morocco and China.
STMicro is benefitting from strong customer demand and continues to grow despite the difficult economic conditions. The collaboration with Soitec to produce Soitec’s SmartSiC technology for future 200mm SiC substrates will further adhere to SiC growth in EVs. With the increase in the production capacity of wafers and the growing adoption of EVs, STMicro will soon be one of the top players in the automotive space. STMicro is expected to be exposed to additional growth opportunities as it gains more exposure in GaN, RF, Sensing and IoT. Material shortages, supply disruptions and weak macro conditions may likely pose as consumer and personal market disturbances.