Freescale Semiconductor Inc.'s financial performance improved on a sequential basis in the third quarter along with many of its rivals in the global semiconductor market but company CEO Rich Beyer is still reluctant to project a completely bullish outlook for the industry due to worries over the strength of the expansion.
Among concerns on Beyer's mind are the same issues economists are trying to sort out in the larger economy, including whether the current economic recovery would be sustainable and whether the financial and real estate markets as well as consumer confidence will rebound strongly enough to power future growth, lifting demands for automotives and other electronic products.
Since the future remains cloudy, Beyer said companies in the chip market need to remain watchful and avoid taking on additional fixed costs so as to be able to scale back their operating expenses in line with whatever economic environment they encounter in 2010 and beyond.
Freescale, Beyer said, is adding some temporary employees in anticipation of continued growth but the company is still using outside suppliers in many areas of its operations.
In an interview with EE Times, Beyer addressed continued investor and supplier concerns about Freescale's $7.5 billion in long-term debt and the implications for the company's financial stability.
Beyer noted Freescale had since September 2008 reduced long-term debts by $1.8 billion and assured the company had plans in place to continue paying off creditors while also adding to its $1.3 billion cash hoard to fund expenses.
Here are excerpts from the interview: