Could distributors start taking a bigger share of the semiconductor industry?
Lou di Nardo, CEO of Exar, tells me that the owner of distributor Future Electronics has a 17% share in Exar, and 30% of Exar’s sales go through Future.
Another investor in Exar is George Soros with 15%.
“Good long-term investors”, says di Nardo.
As distributors get bigger and fewer, investing in IC companies seems a natural direction for them to go in, because they become extremely knowledgeable investors.
Di Nardo is executing a turnaround at Exar whose stock price has grown this year from under $6 to over $8.
He turned a $5m a quarter loss into a $900,000 profit in Q2 and a $2.1 million profit in Q3 after a staff downsizing of 435 to 300.
He’s doubled the number of IC design engineers, introduced five new chips this year and intends to launch three to five new ICs every quarter through 2013.
And he’s focussed the company on three areas: networking and storage; comms infrastructure; industrial and embedded.
The company’s cash pile remains around $200 million.