Fairchild Semi sees profits drop

Fairchild Semiconductor reported profits of $1.6 million for the first quarter of 2012, a significant drop from the same period a year ago, when the semiconductor company saw profits of $43.5 million.

It was also a drop from the prior quarter’s profits of $21.3 million.

First quarter sales totaled $352.2 million, up 4 percent from the prior quarter and 15 down from the same period a year ago.

A number of factors played into the drop, Fairchild executives said in Thursday’s earnings statements, ranging from supply chain issues due to floods in Thailand to start-up costs associated with a factory.

The computer chip manufacturer has more than 9,000 employees in 27 locations globally. There are 800 in Maine, working at its fabrication facility and its corporate offices, both in South Portland. The company is registered in Delaware, and last year moved its official headquarters designation from South Portland to San Jose, Calif.

“First quarter sales were roughly in line with expectations as we slightly reduced channel inventory dollars,” said Fairchild President and CEO Mark Thompson. “Our first quarter results included about a one percentage point negative impact to sales due to supply disruptions with our optoelectronics products related to the flooding in Thailand that were finally resolved in late January. We posted record sales for our automotive products in the first quarter after growing 26 percent in 2011.”

Added Mark Frey, Fairchild’s chief financial officer: “Gross margin decreased primarily due to the lower factory loadings from the holiday shutdowns at the end of Q4 and the start of Q1. Margins were also impacted by the 8 inch fab start-up costs and price reductions.”

Frey projected second quarter sales in the $360 million to $380 million range.

Fairchild reported first quarter sales of $352.2 million, up 4 percent from the prior quarter and 15 percent lower than the first quarter of 2011.