Tue, Jul 17, 2007 - Page 12 News List

Wintek Corp shares up on Apple rumor

RALLY Shares reacted to reports that the US firm had placed an order with the handset panel maker for its iPhone, but Wintek would not confirm the deal

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Shares of Wintek Corp (勝華科技) rallied more than 5 percent in the early trading session yesterday amid speculation that the handset panel maker had been chosen to supply Apple Inc for its future touch-panel iPhone.

Wintek shares opened up NT$2.1 to NT$43.2 before losing the gain to close at NT$41.1 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday. The company did slightly better than the benchmark TAIEX index's 0.57-percent loss.

Turnover had risen nearly 25 percent from last Friday.

"We do not comment on specific customers, nor will we reply to any questions about Apple or any development projects," Wintek spokesman James Chen (陳政慧) said by telephone.

"Wintek is capable of making quality touch panels in terms of technology and capacity," Chen said.

Chen made the comments after the Chinese-language Commercial Times reported that Apple had placed orders for touch screens with Wintek for a lower-priced phone model, beating suppliers Balda AG of Germany and other local competitors.

This would make Wintek the first local panel maker to break into the component supply chain for Apple's first mobile phone.

Despite speculation that the US consumer electronic vendor was scheduled to launch a more affordable iPhone in the fall, Apple refused to discuss plans for a new version of its iPhone using simpler functions.

The Taichung-based company said shipments of touch panels would rise in the second half of this year over the sale of new multi-touch panels and growing demand for smartphones.

Chen declined to give comparative figures.

The speculation about a potential partnership with Apple partly stemmed from another report which said that Wintek had begun to ship flat screens to Apple for its iPod digital music player that features a video playback function. The local firm said the report was false.

Wintek, which supplies flat panels to major brands such as Nokia Ojy and Motorola Inc, has been diversifying its product portfolio to include flat screens used in MP3 players and global positioning system (GPS), away from its core business of manufacturing handset panels.

Wintek's touch panel business accounts for a very small portion, or less than one percent, of the company's total revenues.

But Chen said his company was optimistic about the industry's future growth.

Wintek posted revenues of NT$13.52 billion (US$412 million) for the first half of the year, down 11.4 percent from a year ago. The company reported losses of NT$199 million for the first quarter as demand dwindled during slow season.

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