ams AG

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ams AG
Type Public
Traded as SIXAMS
ISIN AT0000920863
Industry Semiconductors
Founded 1981 (as Joint Venture between AMI Semiconductor (AMIS) and voestalpine AG)
Key people Kirk S. Laney (CEO), Michael Wachsler-Markowitsch (CFO)
Products Sensors
Sensor interfaces
Power Management
Analog electronics
  • DecreaseEUR 377.8 million (2013)[1]
  • IncreaseEUR 387.6 million (2012)
Operating income
  • DecreaseEUR 63.9 million (2013)[1]
  • IncreaseEUR 84.8 million (2012)
  • DecreaseEUR 60.8 million (2013)[1]
  • IncreaseEUR 81.9 million (2012)
Total assets
  • IncreaseEUR 653.0 million (2013)[1]
  • IncreaseEUR 634.0 million (2012)
Total equity
  • IncreaseEUR 444.7 million (2013)[1]
  • IncreaseEUR 409.5 million (2012)
  • Increase1,394 (2013)

ams AG, formerly known as austriamicrosystems AG and still known as AMS (Austria Mikro Systeme), is a multinational semiconductor manufacturer. The headquarters are located in Unterpremstätten (Styria, Austria). The main fields of the business are the development and production of high performance analog Integrated Circuitry (ICs) such as standard analog products as well as customer specific solutions (ASICs).

ams AG is engaged in the areas of sensors and sensor interfaces, power management, and wireless. With their products they serve the markets of communication & consumer electronics, Industry|industrial & medical electronics and automotive electronics.[2] The almost 1,400 employees in 20 countries include research and development facilities in Austria, a center of excellence in optical sensors in Texas(USA), seven other design centers, and manufacturing in Austria and the Philippines.[3]



voestalpine AG decides to expand its product and services range during the late 1970sand chooses the Semiconductor industry. Due to voestalpine looking for a joint venture partner the first cooperation with American Micro Systems (AMI) was formed.[4]

In 1981 this joint venture resulted in the American Micro Systems Inc. Austria GmbH. AMI owned 51% and voestalpine AG 49%. The château Premstätten in Unterpremstätten (Styria, Austria) was chosen as headquarters. This was followed by the construction of the first Austrian Semiconductor factory. The set up of a sales branch for ROMs and standard products was also tackled during this period.

In 1983 the Austrian chancellor Fred Sinowatz officially opened the 100mm Wafer factory which started its production with 300 employees.

1987 was the year when voestalpine AG took over full ownership. In September of the same year the name was changed from AMI-A to AMS (Austria Mikro Systeme International GmbH). Furthermore there were new sales branches established in California and Germany.

In 1991 AMS became one of the 25 fastest growing businesses in Europe.[5] AMS was chosen to be the “top Fab of 1992” (Source: Semiconductor International USA).

In June 1993 AMS was the first Semiconductor Company in Europe to go public, at the Vienna stock exchange.[6]

AMS decides to conquer new markets and that’s how the first sales office in Asia came about in 1996. In this year the company was also accredited according to the ISO 14001:1996 and EMAS (the European Eco Management and Audit Scheme). 1997 AMS achieved first successes in the area of Deep Submicron technologies.

NASAs “Deep Space 2” mission in 1998 took off with 2 chips developed from AMS and the aircraft manufacturer Boeing. These chips were designed to manage the power supply of the whole space probe. In the same year the company was accredited according to the American and German Automotive industry, QS 9000 and VDA 6.1 respectively.[7]

2000 AMS set the foundation for the new 200mm Wafer factory. With the support of its new private equity shareholder Permira, AMS left the Vienna stock exchange the same year. This resulted in a further name change to austriamicrosystems AG.


The new 200mm production line starts its trial run. At the same time a license agreement has been reached between austriamicrosystems AG and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Ltd.), the largest global IC Foundry. After the successful trial run the new 200mm Wafer factory goes ahead with the mass production in 2002. New sales offices in Singapore were opened in the same year, furthermore an expansion of locations in Hong Kong, Japan and the USA was carried out.

Silicon Strategies listed austriamicrosystems as the only European company under the top ten 2003 Foundries worldwide.[8] austriamicrosystems AG decided to continue its policy of expansion with new sales offices in South Korea, China (Suzhou), Finland and Sweden. Additionally, a desin center for multimedia playback applications was set up in Banglore, India.

2004 was the year austriamicrosystems AG found its way back to the stock exchange. Since the 17th of May that year austriamicrosystems AG is listed on the Swiss Stock exchange, short SIX, in Zürich.[9]

In 2005 the standard products as well as the capacity of the 200mm Wafer factory were expanded to compensate for the shut down of the old 100mm factory which played a main part in the success of austriamicrosystems AG.

In 2006, the year of the 25th anniversary, a new test centre in the Philippines and a new design centre in India were built. The 200mm Wafer factory was also expanded further.

In 2007 austriamicrosystems AG stepped into new business segments in the form of a partnership with the micro motor manufacturer New Scale Technologies. In the same year the new cafeteria & conference centre (CCC) was built by the architect DI Tinchon.

The financial and the resulting economic crisis didn’t pass austriamicrosystems AG without leaving their mark. As many other companies they had to reduce work hours for parts of their workforce. However this didn’t last long as the orders started to grow again and all of those who had reduced hours could return to full hours. But even during these economically difficult times austriamicrosystems AG managed to join the UN global compact to reduce emissions and plans in the mid term to produce CO2-free.[10] Nevertheless, austriamicrosystems AG reached revenues amounting to EUR 209.4 in 2010.


In 2011 austriamicrosystems acquired 100% of the shares in Texas Advanced Optoelectronic Solutions, Inc., (“TAOS”) for about USD 320 million (about EUR 220m).[11] TAOS works in the area of light sensor technologies and delivers solutions for display management for consumer electronics.

In May 2012 austriamicrosystems rebrands to “ams”. The new brand name ams conjoins austriamicrosystems and the brand of TAOS, a global supplier of intelligent lights sensors, acquired in 2011.[12] Furthermore ams AG acquired IDS Microchip AG in the same year.[13]

Since May 13, 2013 Kirk Laney, former CEO of TAOS Inc., took over the interim management of the company after the step down of John Heugle, head of company for 11 years.[14]

In June 2014 ams acquired 100% of shares in AppliedSensor, a global leader in solid-state chamical gas sensor solutions.[15]

On June 25, 2014 ams published a statement of a possible merger of equals with Dialog Semiconductor.[16]

Château Premstätten[edit]

In 1164 the foundation for the château Premstätten was laid by the knights Hermann and Gumprecht of Premstätten. 200 years later the 600 year reign of the counts of Saurau began.[17]

austriamicrosystems' site near Graz, Austria, includes a castle.

The appearance of the château today is mainly thanks to the counts of Saurau. The arcaded atrium has been built in the second half of the 17th century. It received today’s still maintained rococo look more than a hundred years later.

From 1848 onwards the owner ship of the château changed more frequently. First the noble family Goëss held the ownership but was soon followed by the noble family of Normann.[18]

In 1931 the château was bought by the order of Comboni, a catholic missionary order. The order was dispossessed of the château by the NS regime, which used it as a secret radio communication base. After the war, it was not restored to the order; instead it was used by American and Russian troops as a base. Only after the occupation period did the order get the château back, but it was in a miserable state.[19]

The following years were marked by numerous renovation works. This had a huge financial impact on the order. In 1981 the order of Comboni finally decided to sell the château to the voestalpine AG under the condition that they would keep the chapel intact in its form and purpose.

After extensive renovation to adapt the château to office purposes it became the headquarters of austriamicrosystems AG.

Managing board[edit]


  • Kirk S. Laney (CEO since 2013),
  • Michael Wachsler-Markowitsch (CFO since 2003)

Shareholder structure[edit]

ams AG is listed on the SIX Swiss stock exchange (ticker symbol: AMS) since 2004. approx. 92% of the shares are free float, around 8% are held by the management and by other former TAOS shareholders.[21]

Business segments[edit]

In the segment of Consumer & Communications ams serves the markets of mobile communication and mobile as well as fixed entertainment electronics. Their main focus rests on chip solutions for the power and lighting management. These chips can be found in MP3 players, mobile phones, LCD TVs and xenon or LED camera flashes.

In the area of medical and industrial electronics ams provides sensors and sensor interfaces. Their products are known to measure to smallest signals under extreme conditions such as extreme temperature fluctuations, humidity and vibration.

In the field of automotive electronics ams AG supplies Semiconductor solutions which are used in intelligent vehicle access, security and comfort systems. They also supply sensors, sensor interfaces and high speed bus systems. ams´ Foundry is aimed at fabless companies, chip designers and integrated semiconductor providers which don’t have their own Wafer factory. Hereby the focus lies on analog and mixed signal ICs which often need complex and specialised processes.[22]

Research and development[edit]

ams AG spends constantly invests in its research and development. In the year 2013 research and development expenses were EUR 68.5m, corresponding to 18% of revenue. The average number of employees in this area were 346.[23]

Quality and environmental management[edit]

ams AG is certified with the following quality standards, ISO/TS 16949:2002, ISO/TS 13485:2003 (medical devices), ISO 9001:2000, QS9000, VDA6.1, the Q1 certification of Ford, the STACK Technical Approval and the CECC 9000. They also fulfil the environmental standards of ISO 14001:1996 and EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme).[24][25] ams is part of the UN Global Compact, the world's largest corporate initiative for responsible business and sustainability.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e ams AG Homepage ams AG Annual Report 2013, retrieved via ams AG website on 1st of July 2014
  2. ^ ams AG homepage Homepage of ams AG, retrieved on the 23rd of August 2010
  3. ^ ams Annual Report 2013 Our Talent, p.13, retrieved 25th June 2014
  4. ^ "Austria Sieve to the East: Austrias Neutrality during the East-West Economic War" by Dr.phil. Oliver Rathkolb, IEHC 2006 SESSION 101: Cold War and Neutrality: East-West Economic Relations in Europe, retrieved on the 24th of August 2010
  5. ^ Online archive Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC®).. Website of the Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC®), 8725 John J. Kingman Road, Suite 0944, Fort Belvoir, VA 22060-6218, USA; retrieved 25th June 2014.
  6. ^ History of the Österreichische Industrieholding AG (OIAG) Homepage of the Österreichische Industrieholding AG (OIAG), retrieved on the 25th of August 2010
  7. ^ Power Microelectronics of NASA`s Deep Space 2 probes Official Homepage of NASA's Deep Space 2 program, retrieved on the 25th of August 2010
  8. ^ AMS2000 Project PDF of INTEC Homepage of INTEC Engineering & Consulting GmbH & Co. KG, retrieved on the 25th of August 2010
  9. ^ austriamicrosystmes share details Swiss Exchange Homepage, retrieved on the 25th of August 2010
  10. ^ ams Annual Report 2013 Corporate Responsibility, p14. retrieved 3rd July 2014
  11. ^ "Austriamicrosystems buys TAOS for $320 million", EETimes Online, Juni 16, 2011
  12. ^ "austriamicrosystems Announces New Company “ams” Brand", Bloomberg, May 16, 2012
  13. ^ "ams announces completion of transaction to acquire the RFID design center IDS". 2012-11-13. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  14. ^ "ams CEO John Heugle agrees to step down with immediate effect; Kirk Laney to assume position of CEO". 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  15. ^ "ams enters agreement to acquire private gas sensor specialist AppliedSensor". 2014-06-04. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  16. ^ Arash Massoudi und Bryce Elder (2014-06-25). "Dialog and AMS in ‘early stage’ merger talks" (in German). Financial Times. Retrieved 2014-07-07. 
  17. ^ Walter Brunner, Diether Kramer; Geschichte von Neumarkt und Schloß Premstätten; Habiltaition 1993
  18. ^ W.Brunner/C.Heberling: Schloß Premstätten. Ritterturm - Adelsschloß - Ordenshaus - High-tech-Center. 1989, 21-407, 539-549
  19. ^ offizielle Historie der Comboni Missionare. Website der Comboni-Missionare. retrieved 29 July 2010
  20. ^ The management Websiteof ams AG, retrieved on the 7th of July 2014
  21. ^ [1], retrieved on July 7, 2014
  22. ^ Homepage of the Financial Times, retrieved on 24 August 2010
  23. ^ ams Annual Report 2013 Research and Development, p44; retrieved July 3rd, 2014
  24. ^ The Compact Modelling Networks Institution Information Homepage of The compact Modelling Network, retrieved on the 24th of August 2010
  25. ^ 'Environmental Report 2013' ams Environmental Report 2013, retrieved July 4, 2014
  26. ^ 'Austrian Global Compact Network' Website of the Austrian Global Compact Network, retrieved July 7, 2014

External links[edit]