Atmel CFO expects touchscreens to fuel growth in 2013

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 07, 2013 6:56 PM

By Neha Alawadhi

(Reuters) - Touchscreen chipmaker Atmel Corp's Chief Financial Officer Stephen Cumming expects growth to rebound in 2013, helped by increased orders from its smartphone and ultrabook customers.

"Overall, 2013 is definitely going to shape up as a better year," CFO Cumming told Reuters in a telephone interview.

"I do feel that our maxTouch business will grow, our core microcontroller business would grow. Our other product lines should overall be doing better," he said.

The company makes microcontrollers, or entire computers on a single chip, that are used in anything from ultrabooks to smartphones. Its microcontroller business, which includes maxTouch touchscreen chips, accounted for 62 percent of revenue in 2012.

Analysts expect the company's 2013 revenue to remain flat at $1.43 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Atmel counts Acer Inc, Asus, Dell Inc, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo Group Ltd, Microsoft Corp, Samsung Electronics Co, Sony Corp and Toshiba Corp among its customers.

The company is banking on greater adoption of ultrabooks sporting touchscreens and powered by Microsoft Corp's Windows 8 operating system.

"I really think that Windows 8 is going to gain more and more momentum as we go into 2013 and beyond," Cumming said.

A slew of OEMs have announced Windows 8-based tablets and ultrabooks since the operating system's October launch. Atmel currently powers about 40 different tablets and ultrabook models that use the operating system.

The company also expects a growth in orders from smartphone makers.

"If you are going to upgrade your laptop or your PC, you probably are going to pick up something that is touch enabled. It's very intuitive, it's a sexy technology," Cumming said.

Samsung's Galaxy series smartphones such as S3 Mini and Note 2 use Atmel's chips.

However, Cumming declined to confirm or deny if Samsung's Galaxy S4 smartphone -- expected to be launched on March 14 -- would use Atmel's chips.

"Under our NDA (non disclosure agreement) with all of our customers in general, I can't talk about future products coming to market," Cumming said.

Atmel's shares, which have lost 35 percent of their value over the past year, closed at $6.43 on the Nasdaq on Thursday.

(Reporting by Neha Alawadhi in Bangalore; Editing by Roshni Menon)