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KLIC > SEC Filings for KLIC > Form 10-K on 19-Nov-2012All Recent SEC Filings

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Form 10-K for KULICKE & SOFFA INDUSTRIES INC


19-Nov-2012

Annual Report


Item 7. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

In addition to historical information, this filing contains statements relating to future events or our future results. These statements are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the "Securities Act") and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the "Exchange Act"), and are subject to the safe harbor provisions created by statute. Such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, our future revenue, sustained, increasing, continuing or strengthening demand for our products, the continuing transition from gold to copper wire bonding, replacement demand, our research and development efforts, our ability to identify and realize new growth opportunities, our ability to control costs and our operational flexibility as a result of (among other factors):

· projected growth rates in the overall semiconductor industry, the semiconductor assembly equipment market, and the market for semiconductor packaging materials; and

· projected demand for ball, wedge and die bonder equipment and for expendable tools.

Generally, words such as "may," "will," "should," "could," "anticipate," "expect," "intend," "estimate," "plan," "continue," "goal" and "believe," or the negative of or other variations on these and other similar expressions identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made only as of the date of this filing. We do not undertake to update or revise the forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties. Our future results could differ significantly from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statements. These risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, those described below and under the heading "Risk Factors" within this Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended September 29, 2012 and our other reports and registration statements filed from time to time with the Securities and Exchange Commission. This discussion should be read in conjunction with the Consolidated Financial Statements and Notes included in this report, as well as our audited financial statements included in this Annual Report.

We operate in a rapidly changing and competitive environment. New risks emerge from time to time and it is not possible for us to predict all risks that may affect us. Future events and actual results, performance and achievements could differ materially from those set forth in, contemplated by or underlying the forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date on which they were made. Except as required by law, we assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement to reflect actual results or changes in, or additions to, the factors affecting such forward-looking statements. Given those risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as predictions of actual results.

Introduction

Kulicke and Soffa Industries, Inc. (the "Company" or "K&S") designs, manufactures and sells capital equipment and expendable tools used to assemble semiconductor devices, including integrated circuits ("IC"), high and low powered discrete devices, light-emitting diodes ("LEDs"), and power modules. We also service, maintain, repair and upgrade our equipment. Our customers primarily consist of semiconductor device manufacturers, outsourced semiconductor assembly and test providers ("OSATs"), other electronics manufacturers and automotive electronics suppliers.

We operate two main business segments, Equipment and Expendable Tools. Our goal is to be the technology leader and the most competitive supplier in terms of cost and performance in each of our major product lines. Accordingly, we invest in research and engineering projects intended to enhance our position at the leading edge of semiconductor assembly technology. We also remain focused on our cost structure, through consolidating operations in Asia. Cost reduction efforts are an important part of our normal ongoing operations, and are expected to generate savings without compromising overall product quality and service levels.

Business Environment

The semiconductor business environment is highly volatile, driven by internal dynamics, both cyclical and seasonal, in addition to macroeconomic forces. Over the long term, semiconductor consumption has historically grown, and is forecast to continue to grow. This growth is driven, in part, by regular advances in device performance and by price declines that result from improvements in manufacturing technology. In order to exploit these trends, semiconductor manufacturers, both integrated device manufacturers ("IDMs") and OSATs, periodically invest aggressively in latest generation capital equipment. This buying pattern often leads to periods of excess supply and reduced capital spending - the so called semiconductor cycle. Within this broad semiconductor cycle there are also, generally weaker, seasonal effects that are specifically tied to annual, end-consumer purchasing patterns. Typically, semiconductor manufacturers prepare for heightened demand by adding or replacing equipment capacity by the end of the September quarter. Occasionally this results in subsequent reductions in the December quarter. This annual seasonality can occasionally be overshadowed by effects of the broader semiconductor cycle. Macroeconomic factors also affect the industry, primarily through their effect on business and consumer demand for electronic devices, as well as other products that have significant electronic content such as automobiles, white goods, and telecommunication equipment.

Our Equipment segment is primarily affected by the industry's internal cyclical and seasonal dynamics, in addition to broader macroeconomic factors that positively and negatively affect our financial performance. The sales mix of IDM and OSAT customers in any period also impacts financial performance as this mix can affect our products' average selling prices and gross margins due to differences in volume purchases and machine configurations required by each customer type.

Our Expendable Tools segment is less volatile than our Equipment segment. Expendable Tools sales are more directly tied to semiconductor unit consumption rather than capacity requirements and production capability improvements.

We continue to position our business to leverage our research and development leadership and innovation and to focus our efforts on mitigating volatility, improving profitability and ensuring longer-term growth. We remain focused on operational excellence, expanding our product offerings and managing our business efficiently throughout the business cycles. The current economic environment is uncertain and we may experience typical industry seasonality during the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Our visibility into future demand is generally limited and forecasting is difficult.

To limit potential adverse cyclical, seasonal and macroeconomic effects on our financial position, we have de-leveraged and strengthened our balance sheet. In fiscal 2012, we fully repaid our 0.875% Convertible Subordinated Notes with cash in the principal amount of $110.0 million at maturity. As of September 29, 2012, our total cash, cash equivalents and investments was $440.2 million, a $55.7 million increase from the prior fiscal year end. We believe this strong cash position will allow us to continue to invest in product development and improve our production capability throughout the semiconductor cycle.

Technology Leadership

We compete largely by offering our customers among the most advanced equipment and expendable tools available for the wire, wedge and die bonding processes. Our equipment is the most productive and has the highest levels of process capability, and as a result, has lower cost of ownership compared to other equipment in its market. Our expendable tools are designed to optimize the performance of the equipment in which they are used. We believe our technology leadership contributes to the leading market share positions of our various wire bonder and expendable tools products. To maintain our competitive advantage, we invest in product development activities designed to produce a stream of improvements to existing products and to deliver next-generation products. These investments often focus as much on improvements in the semiconductor assembly process as on specific pieces of assembly equipment or expendable tools. In order to generate these improvements, we often work in close collaboration with customers, end users, and other industry members. In addition to producing technical advances, these collaborative development efforts strengthen customer relationships and enhance our reputation as a technology leader and solutions provider.

In addition to gold and aluminum wire, our leadership in the industry's use of copper wire for the bonding process is an example of the benefits of our collaborative efforts. By working with customers, material suppliers, and other equipment suppliers, we have developed a series of robust, high-yielding production processes that have made copper wire commercially viable, significantly reducing the cost of assembling an integrated circuit. During fiscal 2010, many of our customers began converting their bonding wire from gold to copper wire, and we believe the conversion was accelerated by fabless companies in the consumer segment. Gradually, the level of confidence and the reliability of data collected have enabled a larger segment of the customer base to increase copper capabilities. Since this initial conversion, a significant portion of our wire bonder sales are copper capable bonders. We expect this conversion process to continue throughout the industry for the next several years. This could potentially drive a significant wire bonder replacement cycle, as we believe much of the industries' installed base is not currently suitable for copper bonding. Based on our industry leading copper bonding processes and the continued high price of gold, we believe the total available market for copper configured wire bonders is likely to continue demonstrating solid growth.

Our leadership has allowed us to maintain a competitive position in the latest generations of gold and copper ball bonders, which enable our customers to handle the leading technologies in terms of pitch, silicon with the latest node and complex wire bonding requirement. We continue to see demand for our large bondable area ("LA") configured machines. This LA option is now available on all of our Power Series ("PS") models and allows our customers to gain added efficiencies and to reduce the cost of packaging.

We also leverage the technology leadership of our equipment by optimizing our bonder platforms, and we deliver variants of our products to serve emerging high-growth markets. For example, we have developed extensions of our main ball bonding platforms to address opportunities in LED assembly. In the last few years, the LED backlights for flat-screen displays have been the main driver of the LED market where we have successfully competed in LED assembly equipment. We expect the next wave of growth in the LED market to be high brightness LED for general lighting, and we believe we are well positioned for this trend.

Furthermore, we gain synergies by leveraging technologies between our unique platforms. Our leading technology for wedge bonder equipment uses aluminum ribbon or heavy wire as opposed to fine gold and fine copper wire used in ball bonders. In addition, we are currently developing the next generation platform for our power semiconductor wedge bonder. We intend to initiate design of our next power module wedge bonder. In both cases, we are making a conscious effort to develop commonality of subsystems and design practices, in order to improve performance and design efficiencies. We believe this will benefit us in maintaining our leadership position in the wedge bonding market and increase synergies between the various engineering product groups. Furthermore, we continually research adjacent market segments where our technologies could be used. As an example, we are reviewing the use of wedge bonding in the fabrication of solar panels. Many of these initiatives are in the early stages of development and may become business opportunities in the future.

Another example of our developing equipment for high-growth niche markets is our ATPremier. This machine utilizes a modified wire bonding process to mechanically place bumps on devices in a wafer format, for variants of the flip chip assembly process. Typical applications include complementary metal-oxide semiconductor ("CMOS") image sensors, surface acoustical wave ("SAW") filters and high brightness LEDs. These applications are commonly used in most, if not all, smartphones available today in the market. We also expanded the use of ATPremier for wafer level wire bonding for Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems ("MEMS") and other sensors.

Our focus on technology leadership also extends to die bonding. The best-in-class throughput and accuracy of our iStackPSdie bonder forms the foundation for our advanced packaging development.

We bring the same technology focus to our expendable tools business, driving tool design and manufacturing technology to optimize the performance and process capability of the equipment in which our tools are used. For all our equipment products, expendable tools are an integral part of their process capability. We believe our unique ability to simultaneously develop both equipment and tools is a core strength supporting our products' technological differentiation.

Products and Services



We supply a range of bonding equipment and expendable tools. The following table
reflects net revenue by business segment for fiscal 2012, 2011, and 2010:



                                                           Fiscal
(dollar amounts in   2012 net       % of net      2011 net       % of net      2010 net       % of net
thousands)            revenue       revenue        revenue       revenue        revenue       revenue
Equipment            $ 727,082           91.9 %   $ 759,331           91.4 %   $ 691,988           90.7 %
Expendable Tools        63,941            8.1 %      71,070            8.6 %      70,796            9.3 %
Total                $ 791,023          100.0 %   $ 830,401          100.0 %   $ 762,784          100.0 %

See Note 10 to our Consolidated Financial Statements included in Item 8 of this report for our financial results by business segment.

Equipment Segment

We manufacture and sell a line of ball bonders, heavy wire wedge bonders, wafer level bonders, and die bonders that are sold to semiconductor device manufacturers, OSATs, other electronics manufacturers and automotive electronics suppliers. Ball bonders are used to connect very fine wires, typically made of gold or copper, between the bond pads of the semiconductor device, or die, and the leads on its package. Wedge bonders use either aluminum wire or ribbon to perform the same function in packages that cannot use gold or copper wire because of either high electrical current requirements or other package reliability issues. Wafer level bonders mechanically apply bumps to die, typically while still in the wafer format, for some variants of the flip chip assembly process. Die bonders are used to attach a die to the substrate or lead frame which will house the semiconductor device. We believe our equipment offers competitive advantages by providing customers with high productivity/throughput, superior package quality/process control, and as a result, a lower cost of ownership.

Our principal Equipment segment products include:

Business Unit   Product Name (1)                    Typical Served Market

Ball bonders    IConnPS             Advanced and ultra fine pitch applications

                IConnPS ProCu       High-end copper wire applications demanding advanced
                                    process capability and high productivity

                IConnPS ProCu LA    Large area substrate and matrix applications for
                                    copper wire

                IConnPS LA          Large area substrate and matrix applications

                ConnXPS             Cost performance, low pin count applications

                ConnXPS Plus        Second generation cost performance, low pin count
                                    applications

                ConnXPS LED         LED applications

                ConnXPS VLED        Vertical LED applications

                ConnXPS LA          Cost performance large area substrate and matrix
                                    applications

                ATPremier           Wafer level bonding applications

                ATPremier Plus      Advanced wafer level bonding applications

Wedge bonders   3600Plus            Power hybrid and automotive modules using either heavy
                                    aluminum wire or PowerRibbon®

                3700Plus            Hybrid and automotive modules using thin aluminum wire

                7200Plus            Power semiconductors using either aluminum wire or
                                    PowerRibbon®

                7200HD              Smaller power packages using either aluminum wire or
                                    PowerRibbon®

                7600HD              Power semiconductors including smaller power packages
                                    using either aluminum wire or PowerRibbon®

Die bonder      iStackPS            Advanced stacked die and ball grid array applications

(1) Power Series ("PS")

Ball Bonders

Automatic ball bonders represent the largest portion of our semiconductor equipment business. Our main product platform for ball bonding is the Power Series ("PS") - a family of assembly equipment that is setting new standards for performance, productivity, upgradeability, and ease of use. Our Power Series consists of our IConnPS high-performance ball bonders, and our ConnXPS cost-performance ball bonders, both of which can be configured for either gold or copper wire. In addition, targeted specifically at the fast growing LED market, the Power Series includes our ConnXPS LED and our ConnXPSVLED. Targeted for large bondable area applications, the Power Series includes our IConnPS LA and ConnXPS LA. In November 2010 and January 2011, we introduced the IConnPS ProCu, IConnPS ProCu LA, respectively, which offer a significant new level of capability for customers transitioning from gold to copper wire bonding. In March 2012, we introduced ConnXPS Plus next-generation cost-performance ball bonders.

Our Power Series products have advanced industry performance standards. Our ball bonders are capable of performing very fine pitch bonding, as well as creating the sophisticated wire loop shapes needed in the assembly of advanced semiconductor packages. Our ball bonders can also be converted for use to copper applications through kits we sell separately, a capability that is increasingly important as bonding with copper continues to grow as an alternative to gold.

Our ATPremier machine utilizes a modified wire bonding process to mechanically place bumps on devices, while still in a wafer format for variants of the flip chip assembly process. Typical applications include CMOS image sensors, SAW filters, MEMS and high brightness LEDs. These applications are commonly used in most, if not all, smartphones available today in the market. In September 2012, we introduced ATPremier Plus, which offer advanced stud bumping capability for low temperature gold bumping.

Heavy Wire Wedge Bonders

We are the leaders in the design and manufacture of heavy wire wedge bonders for the power semiconductor and automotive power module markets. Wedge bonders may use either aluminum wire or aluminum ribbon to connect semiconductor chips in power packages, power hybrids and automotive modules for products such as motor control modules or inverters for hybrid cars. In addition, we see some potential use for our wedge bonder products in select solar applications.

Our portfolio of wedge bonding products includes:

· The 3600Plus: high speed, high accuracy wire bonders designed for power modules, automotive packages and other heavy wire multi-chip module applications.

· The 3700Plus: wire bonders designed for hybrid and automotive modules using thin aluminum wire.

· The 7200Plus: dual head wedge bonder designed specifically for power semiconductor applications.

· The 7200HD: wedge bonder designed for smaller power packages using either aluminum wire or ribbon.

· The 7600HD: wedge bonder targeted for small power packages.

While wedge bonding traditionally utilizes aluminum wire, all of our heavy wire wedge bonders are also available to be modified to bond aluminum ribbon using our proprietary PowerRibbon® process. Aluminum ribbon offers device makers performance advantages over traditional round wire and is being increasingly used for high current packages and automotive applications.

Die Bonders

Our die bonder, the iStackPS, focuses on stacked die applications for both memory and subcontract assembly customers. iStackPS is targeted at stacked die and high-end ball grid array ("BGA") applications. In addition, iStackPS has demonstrated superior accuracy and process control.

Other Equipment Products and Services

We also sell manual wire bonders, and we offer spare parts, equipment repair, training services, and upgrades for our equipment through our Support Services business unit. In September 2012, we introduced a next-generation manual wire bonder series for use with gold, copper or aluminum wire.

Expendable Tools Segment

We manufacture and sell a variety of expendable tools for a broad range of semiconductor packaging applications. Our principal Expendable Tools segment products include:

· Capillaries: expendable tools used in ball bonders. Made of ceramic and other elements, a capillary guides the wire during the ball bonding process. Its features help control the bonding process. We design and build capillaries suitable for a broad range of applications, including for use on our competitors' equipment. In addition to capillaries used for gold wire bonding, we have developed capillaries for use with copper wire to achieve optimal performance in copper wire bonding.

· Bonding wedges: expendable tools used in wedge bonders. Like capillaries, their specific features are tailored to specific applications. We design and build bonding wedges for use both in our own equipment and in our competitors' equipment.

· Saw blades: expendable tools used by semiconductor manufacturers to cut silicon wafers into individual semiconductor die and to cut semiconductor devices that have been molded in a matrix configuration into individual units.

Critical Accounting Policies

The preparation of consolidated financial statements requires us to make assumptions, estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets and liabilities, net revenue and expenses during the reporting periods, and disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities as of the date of the consolidated financial statements. On an on-going basis, we evaluate estimates, including but not limited to, those related to accounts receivable, reserves for excess and obsolete inventory, carrying value and lives of fixed assets, goodwill and intangible assets, valuation allowances for deferred tax assets and deferred tax liabilities, tax provisions, repatriation of un-remitted foreign subsidiary earnings, equity-based compensation expense, restructuring, and warranties. We base our estimates on historical experience and on various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable. As a result, we make judgments regarding the carrying values of our assets and liabilities that are not readily apparent from other sources. Actual results may differ from these estimates under different assumptions or conditions.

We believe the following critical accounting policies, which have been reviewed with the Audit Committee of our Board of Directors, affect our more significant judgments and estimates used in the preparation of our consolidated financial statements.

Revenue Recognition

In accordance with ASC No. 605, Revenue Recognition, we recognize revenue when persuasive evidence of an arrangement exists, delivery has occurred or services have been rendered, the price is fixed or determinable, the collectability is reasonably assured, and equipment installation obligations have been completed and customer acceptance, when applicable, has been received or otherwise released from installation or customer acceptance obligations. In the event terms of the sale provide for a customer acceptance period, revenue is recognized upon the expiration of the acceptance period or customer acceptance, whichever occurs first. Our standard terms are Ex Works (our factory), with title transferring to our customer at our loading dock or upon embarkation. We have a small percentage of sales with other terms, and revenue is recognized in accordance with the terms of the related customer purchase order. Revenue related to services is recognized upon performance of the services requested by a customer order. Revenue for extended maintenance service contracts with a term more than one month is recognized on a prorated straight-line basis over the term of the contract.

Our business is subject to contingencies related to customer orders as follows:

· Right of Return: A large portion of our revenue comes from the sale of machines used in the semiconductor assembly process. Other product sales relate to consumable products, which are sold in high-volume quantities, and are generally maintained at low stock levels at our customer's facility. Customer returns have historically represented a very small percentage of customer sales on an annual basis.

· Warranties: Our equipment is generally shipped with a one-year warranty against manufacturing defects. We establish reserves for estimated warranty expense when revenue for the related equipment is recognized. The reserve for estimated warranty expense is based upon historical experience and management's estimate of future expenses.

· Conditions of Acceptance: Sales of our consumable products generally do not have customer acceptance terms. In certain cases, sales of our equipment have customer acceptance clauses which may require the equipment to perform in accordance with customer specifications or when installed at the customer's facility. In such cases, if the terms of acceptance are satisfied at our facility prior to shipment, the revenue for the equipment will be recognized upon shipment. If the terms of acceptance are satisfied at our customers' facilities, the revenue for the equipment will not be recognized until acceptance, which typically consists of installation and testing is received from the customer.

Shipping and handling costs billed to customers are recognized in net revenue. Shipping and handling costs paid by us are included in cost of sales.

Allowance for Doubtful Accounts

We maintain allowances for doubtful accounts for estimated losses resulting from our customers' failure to make required payments. If the financial condition of our customers were to deteriorate, resulting in an impairment of their ability to make payments, additional allowances may be required. We are subject to concentrations of customers and sales to a few geographic locations, which could also impact the collectability of certain receivables. If global economic conditions deteriorate or political conditions were to change in some of the countries where we do business, it could have a significant impact on our results of operations, and our ability to realize the full value of our accounts receivable.

Inventories

Inventories are stated at the lower of cost (on a first-in first-out basis) or . . .

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