LONDON Almost all of the semiconductor industry's top 25 companies not only saw sales declines last year—they also underperformed the overall chip industry for the year, according to researchers at iSuppli (El Segndo, Calif.)
"Many of these suppliers are focused on semiconductor segments that performed poorly during the year, including memory, Digital Signal Processors (DSPs), analog ICs and standard logic. This caused 80 percent of the Top-10 and 60 percent of the Top-25 semiconductor suppliers to experience declining revenues compared to 2007," said Dale Ford, senior vice president at the market research group.
iSuppli said total IC sales declined 5.2 percent in 2008 to $258.3 billion, from $272.6 billion the previous year.
Of the leading 25 companies by revenue, those that managed to expand sales were fifth-ranked STMicroelectronics, No.-8 Qualcomm Inc., NEC Electronics Corp., which iSuppli ranked 11th, No 14 Broadcom Corp., No.15 Panasonic Corp., No.18 Sharp Electronics Corp., No.20 Rohm, No. 22 Marvell Technology Group Ltd., No.23 MediaTek Inc. and 24th ranked Fujitsu Microelectronics Ltd.
However, Ford suggests that even amongst the top ten, growth in 2008 was not necessarily all it was cracked up to be with only seven increasing their sales organically.
"The growth achieved by STMicroelectronics, Rohm and MediaTek in 2008 was enabled or enhanced by major acquisitions during the year, rather than by increasing sales in their existing product lines," said Ford.
The remaining six Qualcomm, NEC, Panasonic, Sharp, Marvell and Fujitsu expanded their revenues by between 1.5 percent and 15.3 percent in 2008 based only on organic growth.
However, for the four Japanese suppliers, NEC, Panasonic, Sharp and Fujitsu Microelectronics, this growth was less about rising sales and more about a significantly more favorable exchange rate between the Japanese yen and the U.S. dollar.