On March 30, ST announced the completion of a $500 million medium-term committed credit-facilities program as part of its ongoing efforts to improve liquidity and enhance financial flexibility.
At the end of March, the French Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment and ST signed the framework agreement of the "Nano2012" Research and Development program which confirmed ST as the Coordinator and Project Leader and allocated to the Company Euro 340 million (about $450 million USD) in grants for the period 2008-2012.
On February 12, 2009, an arbitration panel of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) awarded ST, in its dispute with Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, an amount of approximately $406 million comprising compensatory damages, as well as interest, attorney's fees, and consequential damages, against the transfer by ST to Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC of its entire portfolio of asset-backed securities. In addition, ST is entitled to retain the approximately $25 million interest amount which had already been paid on the portfolio. The securities, with a par value of $415 million, are at the end of the first quarter of 2009 carried on the books as non-current financial assets at a value of $184 million, as the result of various impairment charges recorded against income. ST is currently seeking enforcement of the FINRA arbitration award in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.
On February 3, STMicroelectronics and Ericsson announced the closing of their agreement merging Ericsson Mobile Platforms and ST-NXP Wireless into a 50/50 joint venture. The transaction was completed on the terms originally announced on August 20, 2008. The JV begins as a major supplier to four of the industry's top five handset manufacturers, who together represent about 80 percent of global handset shipments, as well as to other industry leaders. Ericsson contributed $1.1 billion net to the joint venture, out of which $0.7 billion was paid to ST. Prior to the closing of the transaction, ST exercised its option to buyout NXP's 20 percent ownership stake of ST-NXP Wireless for a price of $92 million.
Q1 2009 Products, Technology and Design Wins
Automotive, Consumer, Computer and Telecom Infrastructure (ACCI)
-- In automotive powertrain and safety applications, ST expanded its market share for 32-bit microcontrollers (MCUs) based on the PowerPC architecture with significant design wins for next-generation products, including: an airbag platform from a major European player for use by car makers in Europe and the US; an airbag platform from a tier-one Japanese customer targeting the mid- to low-end market in China; and an ABS platform from another Japanese tier-one OEM. In addition, ST is also to supply smart power products for these design wins.
-- In car-body applications, ST gained an important design win from a major Korean OEM for a smart junction-box application for devices including application-specific automotive ICs, 8-bit STM8A MCUs and VIPower(TM) chips. ST also gained a design win for a new generation of actuator ICs for controlling door locks, electric windows and mirrors, from a leading European car maker, in addition to multiple wins for its STM8A MCU in various applications in many new car platforms.
-- In car radios and multimedia, ST's next-generation digital audio and connectivity processor has been selected by two major European car radio makers for their Model Year 2012 platforms. Additionally, ST's GPS technology was selected by a major system maker for telematics applications in South America. ST also received orders for its Cartesio automotive application processor from a major European OEM for a telematics box to be used by a European car maker.
-- In consumer applications, ST introduced two single-chip set-top-box (STB) ICs, the STi5197 for cable STBs and STi5189 for satellite STBs. The chips enable efficient development and fast time-to-market for products such as basic zappers, interactive and Digital Video Recorder (DVR) capable STBs, and hybrid STBs. ST also announced its energy-saving STB architecture, which has already been implemented in several of the company's leading-edge STB decoders.
-- Additionally, ST also received two important product certifications: the STV0498 STB IC has been certified by CableLabs Europe, allowing deployment in interactive STBs for cable TV networks; and ST gained an industry first with certification for the latest revision of the DisplayPort Compliance standard for two products, including the recently announced STDP3100 DisplayPort-to-VGA converter.
-- In consumer audio, ST began shipments of three new Sound Terminal products embedding ST's proprietary FFX digital amplification technology to world-leading makers of home audio systems and LCD TVs.
-- In imaging, ST introduced the market's first quarter-inch optical-format, 3-megapixel sensors with Extended-Depth-of-Field (EDoF) capabilities. Enabling camera modules as small as 6.5 x 6.5mm, the sensors combine high-quality images with size and cost benefits, offering an alternative to auto-focus camera solutions.
-- In computer peripherals, ST gained a design win for a next-generation motor controller IC, using the company's proprietary BCD process, from a leading hard-disk-drive maker for enterprise applications.
-- In communications infrastructure applications, ST gained a design win for ASICs that will be used by a world-leading manufacturer in its enterprise-switching networking products.
Industrial and Multi-Segment (IMS) Product Highlights
-- In 32-bit microcontrollers, ST added another new line to its breakthrough 32-bit STM32 ARM Cortex-M3 based MCU family. The STM32 Connectivity Line offers high-performance variants with Ethernet, CAN and full-speed USB On-The-Go interfaces. ST also introduced the STM32 Primer2 prototyping tool, which adds a rich range of features for embedded design.
-- In 8-bit MCUs, ST announced the general availability of the robust and reliable STM8S105 and STM8S207 for industrial and consumer applications. Additionally, ST unveiled its open-source capacitive touch-sensing software library for its 8-bit STM8 MCU platform to enable easy implementation of touch-sensitive controls.
-- In MEMS (Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems), ST announced that its 3-axis accelerometer technology is providing motion-sensing functions in Openmoko's Neo Freerunner Linux-based mobile open platform. Also, ST expanded its portfolio of ultra-compact high-performance MEMS sensors with a 3-axis accelerometer, with absolute analog output, which is ideal for motion-sensing applications in space- and cost-constrained battery-operated devices. ST also gained design wins for its motion-sensing technology from a major US laptop maker and in many consumer and communications applications from customers in China and Taiwan.