(Corrects 2020 capex figure in paragraph 4)
Jan 28 (Reuters) - French-Italian chipmaker STMicroelectronics said on Thursday it planned to increase investments in 2021 to meet higher demand, especially in automotive and microcontroller segments, and forecast first-quarter sales to jump by almost a third year-on-year. Chip makers have seen demand bounce back as auto production restarted faster than expected after lockdowns last year, while laptops, PCs and gaming consoles have flown off the shelves under new lockdowns and extended remote working.
To support the strong market demand, the group, which produces over 60% of its revenues in Asia-Pacific and whose customers include Apple and Tesla, said it planned to invest about $1.8 billion to $2.0 billion in capital expenditures in 2021. STM said its 2020 capex spending, net of proceeds from sales, was $1.28 billion. STMicroelectronics forecast its first-quarter sales will rise by 31.2% from the previous year to around $2.93 billion.
The Geneva-based group confirmed the preliminary fourth-quarter net revenue figure released earlier this month at $3.24 billion, above its original $2.99 billion forecast.
Reporting by Charles Regnier in Gdansk Editing by Tomasz Janowski