Semiconductor distributor Nu Horizons Corp. is forming an RF and wireless technology division, tapping management from cross-town competitor Arrow Electronics Inc., which has closed its RF Vision business unit, EBN has learned.
For Nu Horizons, the RF division represents a shift that entails the creation of a separate linecard for suppliers of nonactive components. The new linecard will help design engineers access the interconnect, passive, and electromechanical devices required to complete their block diagrams, the company said.
"For every dollar spent on RF components, there are four or five dollars worth of other products needed, including digital, and we want to offer our customers a complete solution," said Arthur Nadata, president and chief executive of Nu Horizons, Melville, N.Y. "Wireless is predominantly driven by RF technology, and we already have a very strong supplier lineup in this space with a commitment to increase the focus."
Nu Horizons' linecard includes wireless component manufacturers like California Eastern Labs, Hitachi, Intersil, Oki Semiconductor, Skyworks Solutions, STMicroelectronics, and Toshiba. Both Nu Horizon's semiconductor and RF groups will support the lines, and the RF unit has put together a team of field sales engineers, the company said.
The wireless-IC market has been a relatively stable source of revenue for companies that have had trouble in other communications sectors. Sales of wireless LAN chipsets, for example, though small, are expected to increase from $246 million this year to $578 million in 2005, said Semico Research Corp., Phoenix.
"The technology is becoming more affordable, and though we forecast that revenue will increase, the average price for the chipsets will drop," said Semico analyst Connie Wong. "In 2001, the ASP for a chipset was $27. In 2006 the average price is estimated at $14.50. As this happens, demand will rise."
To meet projected demand, Nu Horizons has named Ken Wadors vice president of the RF group. Wadors arrived about two weeks ago from fellow Melville-based distributor Arrow Electronics, following Arrow's decision to close the RF Vision business unit inherited as part of the acquisition of Wyle Electronics in 2000.
RF Vision, which was part of the Wyle Communications division Arrow disbanded last summer, at one point generated about $60 million in annual revenue and supported 40 RF and wireless technology lines, according to sources with knowledge of the group's financial history. Prior to its closure, RF Vision had been converted from a
direct-sales organization to a technical support group for the sales operation, the sources said.
Following the shutdown, Arrow assigned field-applications engineers from other groups to represent the former RF Vision supplier lines, according to vendors.
Arrow did not respond to requests from EBN asking for comment.
The closure of the Arrow unit leaves three major players against which Nu Horizons will compete, Avnet Inc., Richardson Electronics Ltd. and Memec plc.