GlobalFoundries CEO: Chip supply challenge to continue in 2022

CEO Thomas Caufield said the company foresees having to balance customer demand and what his company can actually produce.
Written by Tiernan Ray, Senior Contributing Writer

During its first-ever conference call with analysts as a public company, GlobalFoundries Tuesday evening told Wall Street it will continue to be face challenges in meeting companies' demands for wafers to produce chips in 2022.

"We are still dealing with shortages of what we can supply to our key customers in 2022 and figuring out how we could produce more, how do we do the right balance and allocations," said CEO Thomas Caulfield. "So there's nothing that we see in the industry for 2022 that would suggest the frothiness that you described is changing," he added, in response to a stock analyst's question whether surging demand for chips might cool off in future.

GlobalFoundries, formerly the chip arm of Advanced Micro Devices, was spun out in 2009 to Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund, Mubadala. It was taken public October 28th in an IPO lead by Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, BankofAmerica, and JP Morgan Chase that netted GlobalFoundries $1.5 billion in proceeds, and netted Mubadala $1 billion. Mubadala still owns 89% of the shares.

GlobalFoundries manufactures chips for a fee for AMD, and for many of the other top chip designers in the world including Qualcomm, NXP Semiconductors, Qorvo, Skyworks Solutions, and even Samsung Electronics, which has its own chip factories. 

The company has come public at a time when a global chip crunch that has rocked companies such as Apple and Amazon is taking place at the same time as resurgent demand for chips in all manner of products. 

CFO David Reeder told analysts on the call that the company finds itself facing "some pretty strong demand in front of us" at the same time that "we are capacity limited."

"We are working diligently every day to get new tooling in and get factories ramped and online so that we can produce more wafers for our customers," he said. 

CEO Caulfield said the company expects to increase its production capacity of wafers by 12%, year over year, in the quarter. One of its factories, in Dresden, Germany, will increase capacity by 16%.

For the third quarter ended in September, GlobalFoundries this evening reported revenue that rose 56%, to $1.7 billion, yielding a net profit, excluding some costs, of 7 cents a share.

Analysts had been modeling $1.7 billion and a break-even profit line.

For the current quarter, the company sees revenue of $1.8 billion to $1.83 billion, and EPS in a range of 9 cents to 13 cents. That compares to consensus for $1.8 billion and a 9-cent profit per share.

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