Infineon finds profits in alternative chip industries

Infineon is doing well for itself. An interview with its CEO reveals Infineon has succeeded in the market by moving away from traditional chips and into other sectors.

According to Infineon head honcho Peter Bauer, the company’s focus on tailor-made chips for cars and machinery rather than for phones and PCs has helped it overcome industry difficulties and reduce risk.

“Our risk profile is much lower” after getting rid of high-volume chips used in personal computers and mobile phones, Bauer told Bloomberg. “The company has some difficult times behind it. Now we are cyclical, but not volatile.”

This week it announced that it was supplying security controllers from its SLE 78 product range for the new German ID card. It said that it was providing  the significant share of the chips for Europe’s biggest ID project. Bauer has a successful and long history with ID chips. Bauer, formerly at Siemens, was general manager of Chipcard and ID-System IC.

Infineon claims that around 80 percent of electronic ID cards in Europe today contain Infineon security controllers.

Its past has been far from a fairy tale. Back in 2000 it reported losses of £4.7 billion after it was sold by Siemens AG. And it was still struggling with this up until March 2009. In 2008 Mr. Bauer became CEO and had to take on the difficult task of completing a revamp that started in 2006. Part of this involved getting shot of the company’s unprofitable memory-chip unit Qimonda, which was bought by Intel and then filed for insolvency in 2009.