Message Font: Serif | Sans-Serif
No. of Recommendations: 0

=DJ THE SKEPTIC: Infineon Lacks Visibility

Dow Jones News Services
(Copyright © 2005 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.)

By Brian Truscott

LONDON (Dow Jones)--Infineon's (IFX) unsettling third-quarter results Tuesday suggest a genuinely soft landing for the European chipmaker is now in question.

The German company's shares - up a speculative 20% in recent weeks - slid almost 3% on news that pricing pressure and higher-than-expected charges meant a hefty EUR240 million net loss in the third quarter.

The company tried to spin a tale of improved earnings going forward, but it's hard to ignore an outlook clouded by restructuring charges, euro strength and those price problems.

So while Infineon's revenues paint a relatively happy picture, profits remain a concern. Yes, Samsung and Hynix - two of the world's top memory-chip makers - have also seen earnings hit by similar effects, but the two rivals managed to stay in the black.

What's more, Infineon's fortunes compare poorly with some U.S. counterparts. Take Texas Instruments, a chipmaker that relies more on cellphones than on Infineon's bread-and-butter automotive and industrial sectors. TI posted a 42% increase in profits this week, thanks in part to efficient inventory management.

Infineon fared poorly on the valuation front, as well. Its price-to-book ratio, considered a bellwether for the industry, generally lags U.S. rivals. No surprise why price-to-book models are preferred: earnings in the sector are notoriously volatile so price/earning multiples are largely ignored.

Nevertheless, markets have tended to give more credence to managers at U.S. chipmakers, even Micron, which has also been suffering on the earnings front of late, because of an ability to work more quickly, effectively and transparently.

Infineon's corporate governance credentials tend to be discounted. Partly this stems from a close reliance on all things Siemens, and its strategy. But another concern has to be the recent airing of dirty laundry at Infineon, which revolves around motor racing sponsorships and alleged payouts to Infineon executives. ....

Print the post  


When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.