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Feb 26, 2021  

Semiconductor Output Is Taking a Hit From Texas Cold Snap Updated Feb. 17, 2021 6:09 pm ET / Original Feb. 17, 2021 6:08 pm ET Several semiconductor companies have shut down manufacturing operations in Austin, Texas, amid a brutal winter storm that has pummeled swaths of the U.S. Early Wednesday NXP Semiconductors (ticker: NXPI) said in a statement that two of its plants in Austin were without power and gas, and a local newspaper reported that all semiconductor manufacturers in the city were ordered to shut down or idle their plants. Samsung Electronics , and Infineon Technology also have manufacturing operations in the city. Neither company responded to a Barron’s request for comment. “In response to the dire situation of the Texas utility grid, Austin Energy ordered all industrial and semiconductor manufacturers to idle or shut down,” Austin Energy said in a statement to the Austin American-Statesman. “All companies complied and were able to safely do so.” NXP shares fell 2.9% to $189.69 during regular trading Wednesday, as Infineon stock slid 3.1% to $42.66. Samsung Electronics’ Korea-traded shares declined 2%. NXP, based in the Netherlands, is a supplier of automotive chips, which accounted for nearly half of its 2020 overall sales of $8.61 billion. Auto chips are in short supply after vehicle sales slumped early in the Covid-19 pandemic, but rebounded more quickly than auto makers had anticipated. As a result, several auto makers have had to idle production plants . “We are carefully monitoring the situation and will resume operations in our Austin facilities as soon as possible,” said David Reed, NXP’s executive vice president of operations. “We are working to maintain our Austin factories in a safe state to enable high quality and reliable supply once operations restart. Once necessary utility services are restored, our operations team will be able to evaluate the impact of the shut down, and when full production will resume.” The chip shortage around the globe extends beyond autos, and has affected the availability of products ranging from smartphones to next generation videogame consoles. When it reported earnings earlier Wednesday, Analog Devices (ADI) warned that the chip shortage will likely continue through 2021. NXP maintains two facilities in the Austin area, and said that its facilities outside of Austin continued to operate. In a client note Wednesday, Wells Fargo analyst Gary Mobley wrote that the shut- down plants represent roughly 30% of the company’s production square footage, based on the company’s last published annual filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. However, the Austin plants amount to roughly half of the company’s capacity to handle the so-called front-end portion of the chip manufacturing process.

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