Apple to buy part of supplier Dialog in $600m deal

Customers in an Apple store at Grand Central Station in New York. (Reuters)
Updated 11 October 2018
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Apple to buy part of supplier Dialog in $600m deal

  • Dialog’s shares rose by 34 percent in Frankfurt as the deal settles questions about future relations between Apple and Dialog
  • Since the first iPhones a decade ago, Apple has used Dialog power-management chips to manage their battery life

SAN FRANCISCO: Apple is to buy part of Dialog Semiconductor Plc’s business in a $600 million deal, expanding the iPhone maker’s chip operations in Europe and securing the German-listed company’s role as a supplier to the US tech group.
Dialog’s shares rose by 34 percent in Frankfurt early yesterday as the deal settles questions about future relations between Apple and Dialog, whose stock tumbled earlier this year when it said Apple planned to use chips from another supplier.
The acquisition is unusual for Apple, which rarely does such deals, and is larger than previous transactions. Apple bought Israel’s PrimeSense, creator of the facial recognition application used to unlock newer iPhones, for roughly $350 million in 2013.
Since the first iPhones a decade ago, Apple has used Dialog power-management chips to manage their battery life. Under the deal, Apple is buying patents, a team of about 300 engineers, most of whom already worked on chips for Apple devices, and Dialog offices in Britain, Italy and Germany.
Dialog said its 2018 revenue would not be affected and it would continue shipments of existing main power management integrated circuits (PMICs) to Apple. It expects to sell current and future generations of so-called sub-PMICs to Apple.
“We are not selling our PMIC business,” CEO Jalal Bagherli told analysts.
After the deal, Dialog expects Apple to account for 35-40 percent of its total revenues in 2022. That is down from around 75 percent in the current year. Headcount will fall to 1,800. The Anglo-German chipmaker also said it would begin a share buyback program for up to 10 percent of its stock following its next quarterly trading update.
Other chip designers in Europe have struggled to manage their relationship with Apple due to its sheer scale. Britain’s Imagination Technologies ended up being sold to a Chinese-backed fund last year after losing Apple as a client.
Shares in Austria’s AMS, which competes with Dialog in areas such as power-management chips, fell 3.8 percent.
Half of the deal’s value, or about $300 million, is cash for the Dialog engineers and offices and the other $300 million is pre-payment to Dialog for supplying chips over the next three years, the companies said. Dialog added that it would continue to deliver chips to other customers, focusing on the automotive and Internet-of-things markets, among others.
It forecast that its sub-PMIC business would achieve compound annual growth rates of 30-35 percent between 2018 and 2022. Its AMS, Connectivity and Automotive & Industrial business would grow at a 10-15 percent rate.
The deal represents an expansion of Apple’s chip design operations, which kicked into high gear in 2010 when the company released its first custom processor for the iPad and iPhone.


Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

Updated 20 October 2018
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Can a hungry Mali turn rice technology into ‘white gold’?

  • Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change
  • Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983

BAGUINEDA: When rice farmers started producing yields nine times larger than normal in the Malian desert near the famed town of Timbuktu a decade ago, a passerby could have mistaken the crop for another desert mirage.
Rather, it was the result of an engineering feat that has left experts in this impoverished nation in awe — but one that has yet to spread widely through Mali’s farming community.
“We must redouble efforts to get political leaders on board,” said Djiguiba Kouyaté, a coordinator in Mali for German development agency GIZ.
With hunger a constant menace, Malians are cautiously turning to a controversial farming technique to adapt to the effects of climate change.

 

Dubbed the System of Rice Intensification (SRI), the new method was pioneered in Madagascar in 1983. It involves planting fewer seeds of traditional rice varieties and taking care of them following a strict regime.
Seedlings are transplanted at a very young age and spaced widely. Soil is enriched with organic matter, and must be kept moist, though the system uses less water than traditional rice farming.
Up to 20 million farmers now use SRI in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast, said Norman Uphoff, of the SRI International Network and Resources Center at Cornell University in the US.
But, despite its success, the technique has been embraced with varying degrees of enthusiasm. Uphoff said that is because it competes with the improved hybrid and inbred rice varieties that agricultural corporations sell.
For Faliry Boly, who heads a rice-growing association, the prospect of rice becoming a “white gold” for Mali should spur on authorities and farmers to adopt rice intensification.
The method could increase yields while also offering a more environmentally-friendly alternative, including by replacing chemical fertilizers with organic ones, he said.
He also pointed out that rice intensification naturally lends itself to Mali’s largely arid climate.

FACTOID

Up to 20 million farmers now use rice intensification in 61 countries, including in nearby Sierra Leone, Senegal and Ivory Coast.