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ST considering break-up

STMicroelectronics is considering breaking itself up, reports Bloomberg. It is thought that the profitable analogue business will be split from the loss-making digital business, while the ST-Ericsson joint venture will be sold – probably to Samsung.

ST has seen a sales slump this year. From $9.73bn last year, first half 2012 sales were 18% down at $4.17bn, Analogue revenue fell 15%. Digital revenue fell 24%. Full year sales are expected to be about $8.6bn which is roughly the level of revenues ST had when the current CEO Carlo Bozotti took over from Pasquale Pistorio  in 2005. 

Meanwhile the ST-Ericsson joint venture has wracked up over $1.2bn of debt since it started trading in early 2009 and is losing over $250m a quarter. The worry is that, if the loses are allowed to continue, it could bring down STMicroelectronics.

“It’s pathetic, totally bloody pathetic,” says Europe’s leading semiconductor analyst, Malcolm Penn, CEO of Future Horizons, “the whole of the top management of ST should resign en masse. It’s an indictment of seven years of failure.”

If ST put its power and discrete products together with its analogue, MEMS and microcontroller products in a separate company it would have a business doing about $4bn making about 10% profit.

It could then try and sell the rest.

Last month, ST’s chief strategic officer Philippe Lambinet left ST  to be replaced as CSO by Georges Penalver, a partner in US investment fund Cathaya.

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