Sat, Nov 04, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Global Unichip's shares surge 40% on TSE debut


Shares of local chip designer Global Unichip Corp (創意電子) jumped almost 40 percent during its debut on the nation's main board yesterday on expectations that the company would post stronger sales this quarter.

The share price of Global Unichip surged to NT$52.9 (US$1.61) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, compared with its opening price of NT$38.

Established in 1998, Global Unichip is 43.8 percent owned by the world's biggest contract chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電).

The company designs chips used in global positioning systems (GPS) and WiMAX technology. WiMAX, which stands for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access, refers to Internet connectivity which facilitates the delivery of last mile wireless broadband access as an alternative to cable and digital subscriber line.

Focusing on designing chips using advanced technologies, Global Unichip has said that it expects sales to grow further in the current quarter as customers plan to launch more new chips based on advanced technologies.

But, Eric Chen (陳慧明), a semiconductor analyst with BNP Paribas Securities, is not impressed, terming the stock "not an attractive share."

Despite its technological edge, Global Unichip's third-quarter gross margin of 25 percent was much lower compared with its local rival Faraday Technology Corp's (智原) 44 percent, Chen said.

That may indicate "something [is] wrong with its business model," Chen said.

Shares of Faraday, a subsidiary of the world's No.2 contract chipmaker, United Microelectronics Corp (聯電), slid 0.4 percent to NT$48 yesterday.

Global Unichip said that pre-tax profits in the first three quarters of the year reached a record NT$92 million. It made NT$9 million in pre-tax profits last year.

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