Infineon navigates through headwinds and stormy waters


        The Villach semiconductor manufacturer has to cope with a slump in profits.  Thanks to the focus on future topics, one is "cautiously optimistic", the new work is not a day too early.        </p><div>
        <p>The 50th anniversary year was imagined differently at Infineon Austria in Villach.  The subsidiary of the Munich-based semiconductor manufacturer Infineon clearly felt the consequences of the corona pandemic in the past fiscal year 2019/20 (as of the end of September).  Thanks to the focus on long-term future issues, we see ourselves well on course in the future.</p>            

8.5 billion chips were produced in Villach. Sales remained stable at 3.11 billion euros, while earnings before taxes of 196 million euros were a good third – 110 million euros – lower than in the previous year (306 million euros).

The year was “immensely demanding” for the company, says Infineon Austria boss Sabine Herlitschka. You had to adapt quickly to the difficult situation. Above all, the reduced capacity utilization caused costs, and there was also a drop in demand in the automotive sector and for security chips, for example for passports.

Infineon Austria took advantage of the opportunities and invested in future areas and in employee training, says Herlitschka. Because “what matters is not how the wind blows, but how you set the sails”. Total investments rose by 25 percent to 386 million euros in 2020, while research and development (R&D) costs of 498 million euros were just 5 percent below the 2019 figure (525 million euros). With a share of 16 percent of total sales, the importance of R&D remained at a consistently high level. Infineon continues to be the strongest research company in the country and also holds a top position in Europe.

Not least thanks to short-time work, the number of employees was kept largely stable, 4517 employees as of the balance sheet date mean a slight year-on-year decrease of two percent. At the beginning of May, short-time work was used for 1,500 employees, including temporary workers, Herlitschka emphasizes. After an extension, the short-time work ended early at the end of July. “We also used the time when production was lower so that the employees could adjust to the new production system and appropriate training.”

The Infineon Austria boss is “cautiously optimistic” for the fiscal year that started in October. In the summer, a recovery began in the automotive sector, where the Infineon Group generated 42 percent of its sales. There is also strong demand for solutions for solar and server applications. And you also benefit from the boost to digitization caused by Corona.

The construction of the new fully automated chip factory for the production of 300-millimeter boards is going according to plan. The handover is scheduled for the beginning of March, the commissioning in the second half of 2021. Thanks to the newly started business, there is no longer any talk of excessive capacities. The company’s CFO Thomas Reisinger is already working at up to 95 percent capacity in Villach. This means that the new factory comes “just at the right time”.


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