ST CEO Carlo Bozotti told the GSA Forum this week that he has a dream.
Bozotti said that ST’s business rested on “two pillars.”
“My dream is two have the two pillars be successful. We have a $1 billion microcontroller business; a $900 million MEMS business; this is nice, the challenge is VLSI,” said Bozotti, adding, “the first side is healthy. The second side is challenged.”
Now ST has never built a 300mm fab of its own. The only one it has proprietary access to is the 20,000 wpm 300mm fab at Crolles which is pretty much funded by France Telecom and the French government.
20,000 wpm is not going to give you a leadership position in VLSI.
Former CEO Pasquale Pistorio left a 300mm fab shell in Sicily with a half billion Euro grant to equip it. ST never did. It was turned over to making solar cells.
Without taking the risk of investing in leading edge capacity, Bozotti’s dream will remain just a dream.
Now the reason ST has a $900 million MEMS business is because Pistorio took the risk of investing in MEMS ten years before the market.
If Bozotti wants to his VLSI dream to come true, he too will have to take risks.
And the Agrate culture is chronically risk-averse.
Bozotti also told the GSA Forum that the semiconductor industry is still growing. “I think there is still reasonable growth,” he said.
Maybe for the industry, but not for ST.
ST’s $2.1 billion revenues anticipated for Q2 take it back to the same quarterly run-rate as it was on when Bozotti took over from Pistorio in 2005.