EMSNOW Profile: Cicor Group
The Cicor Group is a globally active development and manufacturing partner with innovative technology solutions for the electronics industry. With about 2200 employees at 11 production sites, Cicor offers highly complex printed circuit boards, printed electronics, hybrid circuits and substrates as well as comprehensive electronic manufacturing services (EMS) including microelectronic assembly and plastic injection molding. Cicor supplies customized products and services from design to the finished product from one source.
The shares of Cicor Technologies Ltd. are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (CICN).
Cicor Management AG
Cicor has two divisions within the company: Advanced Microelectronics and Substrates (AMS) and Electronic Solutions (ES). Their EMS business belongs to the ES group, and it focuses on complex electronics for the aero/defense, industrial and medical markets (AIM). They do not serve the automotive industry or the 3Cs (computer, communications, consumer), with the exception of some high tech auto products related to sensors and airbag deployment. They operate 2 SMT lines in Switzerland, 6 in Romania, and their Asian manufacturing facilities are located primarily in Batam, Indonesia. They also have a PCB fab in Vietnam, and their China facility serves primarily local customers. Currently their focus is on profitability, not purely revenue growth.
Miniaturization has been a key focus throughout their history, having started out making watches. They focus on adding value to customers in very defined markets, low volume/high mix sectors, e.g. aero/defense, industrial and medical. Their quality minded mindset makes them good at both winning and retaining customers in these very demanding industries.
Strategic Growth Drivers
Cicor has a strong base in the medical sector, especially hearing aids for which they provide PCBs for 1 in 3 hearing aid OEMs. They will begin doing PCBA next year for a top five OEM in that space.
For their industrial customers, the fastest growing service provided is engineering, and mostly software rather than hardware design.
The acquisition of Axis Electronics in December 2021 has enabled the company to leverage strong relationships with blue chip companies in the aero/defense industry in the U.K.
Their chip-on-board business is growing.
They see customers thinking much more strategically since the challenges of the last few years, so being a good partner is critical.
Cicor’s Bronschhofen, Switzerland facility was the destination for the EMSNOW On Tour visit in December 2021, where we met with the CEO Alexander Hagemann and Michelle Stampanoni, who is vice president of strategic sales. Alexander joined Cicor six years ago, when it was generating a loss. He reorganized and refocused the company by eliminating two layers of management and reducing the decision-making time significantly. They went back to basics: focusing on solving problems for customers. Mr. Hagemann spoke about Cicor’s global business, commenting that OEM customers behave differently in Europe than in the U.S.
Challenges include skilled labor shortages everywhere. They have robust apprentice programs in Switzerland and U.K. which does help some. Also, land in Vietnam and Batam has become tight, with costs climbing. Reshoring trends are both opportunities and challenges as OEMs are often not willing to pay for the cost differences between regions. Customers are willing to move out of China to either Europe or SE Asia. The overall business outlook for Cicor is very positive.