Thu, May 01, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Siliconware net income falls 54%

By Lisa Wang and Kevin Chen  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Siliconware Precision Industry Co (矽品精密), the nation’s second-largest chip packaging and testing company, posted net income of NT$1.75 billion for the first quarter, a 54.3 percent drop from NT$3.83 billion for the same period last year and a 63.3 percent drop from NT$4.77 billion in the fourth quarter.

Earnings per share for the first quarter were NT$0.58, down from NT$1.32 a year earlier.

Siliconware’s first-quarter profit fell below analysts’ forecasts because of the rising costs of raw materials and a drop in orders from major handset-chip and flash memory-chip customers.

Before yesterday’s conference, Macquarie forecast Siliconware’s first-quarter profit at NT$1.8 billion, while Deutsche Bank predicted a quarterly earnings per share (EPS) of between NT$0.85 and NT$0.91 for the company.

By comparison, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體), the world’s largest semiconductor packaging and testing firm, posted a 41 percent increase in first-quarter profits to NT$2.34 billion.

ASE’s first-quarter figures rose from NT$1.66 billion a year ago, but dropped from NT$3.7 billion in the fourth quarter. EPS was NT$0.43 in the first quarter, compared with NT$0.31 a year earlier and NT$0.66 in the fourth quarter, the company said yesterday.

During an investor’s conference, Siliconware attributed its weaker first-quarter performance to a key customer’s decreasing share in the Chinese handset chip market, rising gold prices and appreciation of the NT dollar. As a result of these factors, Siliconware’s gross operating margin dropped to 14.5 percent in the first quarter from 19.9 percent in the previous quarter and its gross margin fell to 20.6 percent from 28.5 percent over the same period.

Looking ahead, Siliconware chairman Lin Wen-po (林文伯) told investors yesterday that industry forecasts were uncertain and the company expected a flat outlook for the second quarter. Lin also forecast quarterly sales would grow only 1 percent to 5 percent from the first quarter, when it reported NT$14.93 billion. First-quarter sales were down 15.8 percent from the previous quarter, but up 8.6 percent compared with the same period last year.

Lin said average selling prices would be steady in the second quarter after attempts at hiking prices in response to rising gold prices and the currency appreciation. Gross margin should stay at around 15 percent to 17 percent in the second quarter.

He said the company’s factory utilization rate should rise to between 80 percent and 90 percent in the second quarter from a range of 75 percent to 90 percent in the first quarter.

Lin said capital expenditures would be between NT$2.5 billion and NT$3 billion in the second quarter from NT$2.78 billion in the first quarter. The company’s target for the year was unchanged at NT$10 billion. As for Siliconware’s dividends policy, he said the company hoped to deliver in cash based on this year’s earnings.

Shares of Siliconware dropped 0.57 percent to close at NT$52.7 before the release of its results. ASE shares rose 1.62 percent to NT$31.3.

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