Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. (NYSE: VSH) makes semiconductors and passive electronic components. The company's products are used in end-user electronics ranging from hybrid cars and government satellites to mp3 players and microwaves. VSH's products are considered commodities; they are widespread and readily available from numerous competitors. The company's customers are mostly large OEM or ODM manufacturers of end-user electronics. These companies have significant purchasing power and are constantly forcing suppliers to find means to cut costs to remain competitive.
In order to grow revenue and profitability Vishay's strategy has been to acquire other companies. The company however, has only been able to achieve returns on capital that exceeded the initial cost of capital twice in the last fifteen years. In other words, Vishay's acquisitions have cost the company more money than the acquired companies generate. As a result of its acquisitions the company had goodwill impairment charges which totaled $357.9 million for the third quarter of 2008 and $800 million combined for the first and second quarter of 2008.
Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. is an international manufacturer and supplier of discrete semiconductors and passive electronic component. Through it's extensive acquisition strategy, Vishay has come to produce components for nearly every kind of end-user electronics including those used in the industrial, computer, automotive, consumer electronic products, telecommunications, military/aerospace, and medical industries. 
To gain footholds in emerging markets, and to maintain and expand presence in current markets, Vishay has relied heavily on acquisitions. Vishay has acquired twenty nine businesses. Among these acquisitions, the most notable are:
|Vishay Intertechnology, Inc. (Dollars in Thousands)||2007||2006||2005|
|Costs of Products Sold||$2,138,438||$1,916,658||$1,769,978|
Vishay breaks its operations into two segments: i) Semiconductors and, ii) Passive Components.
Semiconductors include discrete devices, integrated chips (IC), and modules. Discrete devices are often single component or an arrangement of several components that perform a single function, such as switching, amplifying,or transmitting electrical signals. Integrated circuits or IC's have anywhere between a few to a million active and passive components on a single chip. Vishay's IC's focus on analog signal switching and routing, power conversion, and power management. A module is a self contained component of a system, comprising of several different components packaged together. Discrete semiconductors and ICs are manufactured and marketed primarily through Vishay's Siliconix subsidiary, the Vishay Semiconductor GmbH subsidiary, and General Semiconductor business.
Passive components are used to store electrical charges, to limit or resist electrical current, and to help in filtering, surge suppression, measurement, timing, and tuning applications. Vishay includes its Measurements Group within this segment because the instruments use passive components in their electro-mechanical measurements. Within this segment of Vishay's products the most notable are:
The electronics components industry is very cyclical and has periods of decline in sales and production from time to time.The most recent downturn from 2000-2002 was touted to be the worst in the history of the semiconductor industry with sales falling from $200B to $160B.  A slow-down in demand affects Vishay's ability to project future sales and earnings which threaten Vishay's financial condition.
For the year 2009, due to the worsening economic situation, iSuppli, a company that specializes in analyzing the electronics and technology markets, projects that demand for microprocessors and DRAM, essential components of PC's, will drop 4% in the coming year. iSuppli also projects that 1G and 2G mobile phone demand will also fall by about 14% this year as opposed to the previously estimated 1% drop.Since demand for electronic components is directly tied to end-user products, a decline in demand for end-user products due to the economic downturn will adversely affect Vishay's revenues. This decline will lead to order cancellations and deferrals, lower average selling prices and inventory excess (which lowers inventory turns), which again will adversely affect Vishay's operations. 
Vishay has only twice been able to achieve returns on acquired capital that have exceeded the firm's capital cost in the past 15 years.  Since Vishay first began acquiring other companies, it has continued to face costs related to restructuring acquired companies in an attempt to streamline operations and as well as costs related to restructuring itself due redundant factories, offices, and employees. For 2007, net restructuring and severance costs totaled to $14,681,000. Because employees are terminated and facilities are shut down, vacated buildings are written down and incur a depreciation expense. Total asset write-downs and depreciation expenses totaled $200,433,000. Each year, total costs related to acquisitions have grown larger and larger: $385.9M in 2005, $415.0M in 2006, and $443.8M in 2007.  With cost of products already comprising 75.5% of net revenue, further increases in acquisition costs only stand to lower net earnings of the company.
Vishay has significant manufacturing operations in Israel (20% of 2009 net revenues were from products manufactured in Israel) in order to benefit from that country’s lower wage rates, highly skilled labor force, government-sponsored grants, and various tax abatement programs. The low tax rates in Israel applicable to earnings of operations in that country, compared to the rates in the United States, have had the general effect of increasing net earnings, although this was not the case during 2002, 2003, and 2004 due to losses on purchase commitments.  Vishay also benefits from numerous employment grant incentives from the Israeli government. These grants are awarded to specific projects and are intended to promote employment in Israel's industrial sector. However, over the past few years, the Israeli government has scaled back or discontinued some of its incentive programs. Vishay believes that since it has received approval for most of its planned projects, they do not anticipate that the cutbacks will have an adverse effect on earnings or operations for several years. However, it may pose limitations on Vishay's future profitability in Israel.
In the market for electronics components, Vishay faces fierce competition. The market sees numerous companies startup each year only to die after a few years due to the fierce competition. Those that do stay afloat do so by either specializing in niche markets, or acquiring other companies to continue expanding. Vishay is unique in this market in that it is one of a few electronic component manufacturers that produces both semiconductors and passive components. Since Vishay produces both, it faces competition on both fronts and must maintain the same if not greater level of advancement in product lines through research and development. In the semiconductor sector it faces strong competition from Fairchild Semiconductor International (FCS), and ON Semiconductor (ONNN). Within the passive component sector, Vishay faces competition from AVX (AVX).