In the quarter gross margin was 45.2 percent up from 41.6 percent in the previous quarter and up from 38.8 percent in 4Q21. The company announced a quarterly net profit of $750 million.
ST is reportedly one of the companies that has been increasing prices during a period of high demand and this may have contributed to margins and profit. This, in turn, has enabled a plan to near double the annual capital expenditure and put it much higher than ST’s long-term benchmark as a percentage of sales of 10 to 12 percent
ST announced that it is setting a budget for capital expenditure in 2022 of between $3.4 billion and $3.6 billion, compared with the $1.83 billion it reported spending in 2021. This would be used to increase manufacturing capacity generally and to equip of ST’s 300mm wafer fab in Agrate, Italy, the company said (see Tower plans to make RFSOI at ST’s Agrate wafer fab).
ST also forecast a strong 2022 on continuing shortages and demand. ST said it is expecting revenue of between $14.8 billion and $15.3 billion in 2022. At the mid-point that would be $15.05 billion, an annual increase of 17.9 percent.
“As we announced on January 7, 2022, our Q421 net revenues and gross margin came in better than expected primarily due to better than anticipated operations in an ongoing dynamic market,” said Jean-Marc Chery, CEO of ST, in a statement. “Full year 2021 net revenues increased 24.9 percent to $12.76 billion, reflecting a strong performance across all the end markets we address and our engaged customer programs throughout the year.”
In the fourth quarter the automotive and discrete business group (ADG) performed best raising sales by 28.6 percent compared with a year before to $1.23 billion. The microcontrollers and digital group (MDG) raised sales by 23.7 percent to $1.06 billion. The largest group, Analog, MEMS and Sensors, saw sales fall year-on-year by 11.2 percent to $1.26 billion.
ST gave an outlook for 1Q22 of $3.50 billion, a sequential decrease of 1.6 percent, but a year-on-year increase of 15.9 percent. The net cash position was $977 million at December 31, 2021 compared to $798 million at October 2, 2021.
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