Chennai: Analog Devices Inc, a global digital signal processor (DSP) and integrated circuit (IC) leader, is on the lookout for acquisitions in India. ''We are eyeing small technology companies here,'' says Analog Devices chairman Ray Stata.
The American company designs, manufacturers and markets analogue and mixed signal DSPs and ICs used in signal processing applications. Analog Devices had acquired Chip Logica, a Hyderabad-based technology company, a couple of years back and integrated it with its Indian subsidiary, Analog Devices India.
At the macro level, the acquisition scenario is more realistic than the initial public offering (IPO) picture. ''There are several companies that need to be aggregated first before going with an IPO,'' says Stata. Soon a contingent from the US corporate office is expected to chalk out India plans.
Analog Devices, in the meantime, is all set to expand its Indian operations - located in Bangalore and Hyderabad - over the next five years. ''The hardest thing in a new market is to build a core team as it takes time to have a critical mass. Having achieved that, we can now be aggressive in expansion,'' he adds.
The two development centres house around 180 software professionals now. The centres in India are contributing in a major way to the parent company. Analog Devices' break through product - the $10 chip Tigersharc - was developed here. Similarly, another popular product, BlackFin, was developed in India.
On the DSP software side the Indian company is now working on integrated access devices with multiplex voice and data over a single broadband pipe like the digital subscriber line (DSL).
According to Stata, the US company's focus is on developing leading-edge technologies for developing markets. ''Opportunities in the developing markets is the main arena now and no longer a side-show.''
About the IC and DSP markets (the sectors are witnessing a sharp downslide along with the fortunes of telecom and technology sectors), Stata says: ''Many sectors are still struggling, but now there is an increasing optimism. We have pockets of recovery. But because of the war fear and the economic slowdown people are reconsidering further investments.''
According to him Analog Devices managed the downslide in a better way by investing in research and development. Two DSPs, BlackFin and Tigersharc, propelled the company to the top spot. ''For us the telecom sector contributes just one third of the total turnover. The consumer businesses - automobile telematics, consumer durable market- are on the recovery path,'' says Stata.
Stata, also a venture capitalist (he invests in start-ups through Venture East), says venture funding has gone through a transition. The investments are in units connected with the Telecommunications and Computer Networking Group (TeNet) of the Indian Institute of Technology - Madras.
Apart from the TeNet companies, investments have been made in Amdale, a Delhi-based firm involved in developing and selling communication-related software mainly used by call centres. ''All the investments are seed-financing structures and are in early stages,'' he sums up.