Interview: Star Microelectronics Plc (STAR)

Diversification helps Stars to shine brighter

Stars Microelectronics (Thailand) Plc (SMT) has been listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand since September 2009. Chief executive Peerapol Wilaiwongstien discusses the company’s strategy and outlook.

 

Stars is undergoing a transition. Could you walk us through this?

The company was founded in 1995 with an initial focus on integrated circuit (IC) packaging assembly, later expanding to additional products and printed circuit board assembly (PCBA). Our growth was interrupted as a result of the 2011 floods in Thailand, and with a loss of customers as well as a high reliance on one main customer, we decided there had to be a big change in the business.

Our vision for Stars is to become a global electronic manufacturing services (EMS) player, but in order to achieve this we have to set in place a strong foundation, which means a culture that takes into account all of the stakeholders in Stars. A strong foundation for us consisted of three factors: first, we had to become more cost-disciplined; second, we had to increase our focus on customers that were mature and provided reasonable profitability; and finally, we needed to have a diverse customer base across multiple industries.

What type of customers does Stars target?

We are more focused on advanced-technology products and are not specific to any particular industry. Currently we have five industries that we focus on: communication, medical devices, energy, the Internet of Things and infrastructure.

Within each of these industries we also want to have a diverse set of customers with their own business cycles — whether they are startups or mature businesses — because being diversified at both the industry and the customer level ensures that Stars can remain stable during periods of fluctuation within each industry. We are able to service these multiple industries because the fundamental process of electronics is similar across the board, with perhaps minor modifications to match the customers’ requirements.

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