Infineon takes advantage of chip shortage – Economy

Nikolai Setzer made it clear again on Wednesday how serious the situation is now. The CEO of Continental, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, complained about the significant business effects of the current chip shortage and rising commodity prices. Unfortunately, no rapid improvement is in sight. The semiconductor bottleneck will continue through 2022. Continental is not alone in this case: almost every automaker in the world and many other industries are suffering greatly and must temporarily halt production. The chip shortage has now become a real crisis and threatens the global economic recovery.

Among those benefiting from this is Munich-based chipmaker Infineon. After a record quarter, CEO Reinhard Ploss now reports good figures for fiscal 2021, with sales and profits up sharply. “We are more powerful than ever,” Ploss said. Considering the still high demand for semiconductors around the world for the energy efficient and connected world, he also expects a strong fiscal year 2022 (which runs from October to the end of September). Sales are expected to reach 12.7 billion euros, profit margin is expected to be 21% and investments are expected to increase significantly.

Infineon has opened a new factory in Villach

In September, Infineon opened a new plant in Villach, Austria, which is now entering service at exactly the right time. Because Ploss also said: “Without capacity restrictions, even greater growth would have been possible.” This means that the demand is significantly higher than the supply. “We are still thinking of a new factory,” said production manager Jochen Hanebeck. The existing Infineon sites in Villach, Dresden or Kulim in Malaysia could be considered for this.

Open detailed view

Good business, good humor: Infineon boss Reinhard Ploss is looking forward to a good quarter.

(Photo: Sven Hoppe / dpa)

Infineon, which emerged over 20 years ago as a spin-off of the Siemens group, is today one of the ten largest semiconductor groups in the world and the only one in Europe. All other competitors are based in the United States or Asia. Infineon is the largest supplier of chips for the automotive industry. Ploss also doesn’t expect rapid relaxation. Demand will remain high over the long term. Many applications would be more electrified and digitized. The shortage of chips in automotive, industrial, data center, Internet of Things and other areas will therefore persist well into 2022. “Demand continues to outstrip supply. There is a lot of catching up. But the order book isn’t growing as strongly anymore, “Ploss said.

Intel wants to build a “fab” in Europe – where is still open

There is a growing demand in all areas including high performance chips such as those used as main processors in computers or mobile phones – Infineon is not active here. Europe is almost entirely dependent on a few foreign suppliers, notably Taiwan and South Korea. The chip market volume in Europe will reach around 80 billion euros by 2030, predicts a study by consulting firm Kearney on behalf of chipmaker Intel. 43% of them should therefore be high performance chips. In 2020, the order volume was only 44 billion euros, of which only 19% were high-performance chips.

In Taiwan and China in particular, companies have benefited from numerous discounts, for example on taxes and duties or when purchasing land. If Europe wants to reduce its dependence, costs for businesses should be reduced with similar measures. Intel director Greg Slater, head of regulatory issues at Intel worldwide, is also hoping for that. Conditions in Europe are actually excellent. This is why Intel wants to invest in it and build a production unit for high performance chips. There is excellent basic research, many technically oriented students. Only the operation of production facilities, called fabs, is more expensive here than anywhere else in the world. Intel’s location in Europe has yet to be decided, says Slater, “but the list is getting shorter.”

Europe should not wait too long, warns the Kearney study: “Time is running out. Even if a factory were decided now, its construction would take three to five years, said Slater, director of Intel. Aurik, author of Kearney’s study: “If we don’t act now, we’ll be back here in ten years to talk about the same problem.

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