Inventory at the end of the fourth quarter was $1.69 billion, down from $1.79 billion in the prior quarter. Day sales of inventory at quarter-end was 90 days compared to 100 days in the prior quarter.
Free cash flow (non-U.S. GAAP) was $461 million in the fourth quarter and $497 million for 2019.
The Company paid cash dividends totaling $53 million in the fourth quarter and $214 million for 2019. In addition, ST executed a $63 million and $250 million share buy-back in the fourth quarter and full year, respectively, as part of its previously announced share repurchase program.
ST’s net financial position (non-U.S. GAAP) was $672 million at December 31, 2019 compared to $348 million at September 28, 2019 and reflected total liquidity of $2.74 billion and total financial debt of $2.07 billion.
The Company’s guidance, at the mid-point, for the 2020 first quarter is:
- Net revenues are expected to be $2.36 billion, a decrease of 14.3% sequentially, plus or minus 350 basis points;
- Gross margin of 38.0%, plus or minus 200 basis points;
- This outlook is based on an assumed effective currency exchange rate of approximately $1.12 = €1.00 for the 2020 first quarter and includes the impact of existing hedging contracts;
- The first quarter will close on March 28, 2020.
Recent Corporate Developments
- On December 2, 2019, ST announced the closing of the full acquisition of Swedish silicon carbide (SiC) wafer manufacturer Norstel AB (“Norstel”). ST exercised its option to acquire the remaining 45% stake, following the initial transaction announced in February 2019. The total consideration for the acquisition of Norstel was $137.5 million, funded with available cash.
- In December 2019, Philippe Brun, President, Human Resources and Corporate Social Responsibility, left the Company.
Conference Call and Webcast Information
STMicroelectronics will conduct a conference call with analysts, investors and reporters to discuss its fourth quarter 2019 financial results and current business outlook today at 9:30 a.m. Central European Time (CET) / 3:30 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time (ET). A live webcast (listen-only mode) of the conference call will be accessible at ST’s website, http://investors.st.com, and will be available for replay until February 7, 2020.
Use of Supplemental Non-U.S. GAAP Financial Information
This press release contains supplemental non-U.S. GAAP financial information.
Readers are cautioned that these measures are unaudited and not prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP and should not be considered as a substitute for U.S. GAAP financial measures. In addition, such non-U.S. GAAP financial measures may not be comparable to similarly titled information from other companies.
See the Appendix of this press release for a reconciliation of the Company’s non-U.S. GAAP financial measures to their corresponding U.S. GAAP financial measures. To compensate for these limitations, the supplemental non-U.S. GAAP financial information should not be read in isolation, but only in conjunction with the Company’s consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP.
Some of the statements contained in this release that are not historical facts are statements of future expectations and other forward-looking statements (within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 or Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, each as amended) that are based on management’s current views and assumptions, and are conditioned upon and also involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance, or events to differ materially from those anticipated by such statements, due to, among other factors:
- Changes in global trade policies, including the adoption and expansion of tariffs and trade barriers, that could affect the macro-economic environment and adversely impact the demand for our products;
- Uncertain macro-economic and industry trends, which may impact end-market demand for our products;
- The Brexit vote and impact of the withdrawal of the U.K. may adversely affect business activity, political stability and economic conditions in the U.K., the Eurozone, the EU and elsewhere. The date set for the U.K. withdrawal from the EU is January 31, 2020 and the U.K. majority government is expected to complete Brexit even if no formal withdrawal agreement is in place with the EU by the end of the transition period running until December 31, 2020. The specific terms of the U.K. withdrawal from the EU are still uncertain and while we do not have material operations in the U.K. and have not experienced any material impact from Brexit on our underlying business to date, we cannot predict its future implications;
- Customer demand that differs from projections;
- The ability to design, manufacture and sell innovative products in a rapidly changing technological environment;
- Changes in economic, social, labor, political, or infrastructure conditions in the locations where we, our customers, or our suppliers operate, including as a result of macro-economic or regional events, military conflicts, social unrest, labor actions, or terrorist activities;
- Unanticipated events or circumstances, which may impact our ability to execute our plans and/or meet the objectives of our R&D and manufacturing programs, which benefit from public funding;
- Financial difficulties with any of our major distributors or significant curtailment of purchases by key customers;
- The loading, product mix, and manufacturing performance of our production facilities and/or our required volume to fulfill capacity reserved with suppliers or third party manufacturing providers;
- Availability and costs of equipment, raw materials, utilities, third-party manufacturing services and technology, or other supplies required by our operations;
- The functionalities and performance of our IT systems, which are subject to cybersecurity threats and which support our critical operational activities including manufacturing, finance and sales, and any breaches of our IT systems or those of our customers or suppliers;
- Theft, loss, or misuse of personal data about our employees, customers, or other third parties, and breaches of global and local privacy legislation, including the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR”);
- The impact of intellectual property (“IP”) claims by our competitors or other third parties, and our ability to obtain required licenses on reasonable terms and conditions;
- Changes in our overall tax position as a result of changes in tax rules, new or revised legislation, the outcome of tax audits or changes in international tax treaties which may impact our results of operations as well as our ability to accurately estimate tax credits, benefits, deductions and provisions and to realize deferred tax assets;
- Variations in the foreign exchange markets and, more particularly, the U.S. dollar exchange rate as compared to the Euro and the other major currencies we use for our operations;
- The outcome of ongoing litigation as well as the impact of any new litigation to which we may become a defendant;
- Product liability or warranty claims, claims based on epidemic or delivery failure, or other claims relating to our products, or recalls by our customers for products containing our parts;
- Natural events such as severe weather, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions or other acts of nature, health risks and epidemics in locations where we, our customers or our suppliers operate;
- Industry changes resulting from vertical and horizontal consolidation among our suppliers, competitors, and customers; and
- The ability to successfully ramp up new programs that could be impacted by factors beyond our control, including the availability of critical third party components and performance of subcontractors in line with our expectations.
Such forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties, which may cause actual results and performance of our business to differ materially and adversely from the forward-looking statements. Certain forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward looking terminology, such as “believes,” “expects,” “may,” “are expected to,” “should,” “would be,” “seeks” or “anticipates” or similar expressions or the negative thereof or other variations thereof or comparable terminology, or by discussions of strategy, plans or intentions.