E Ink Holdings Inc (元太科技), the world’s biggest e-paper display supplier, yesterday reported record-high quarterly net earnings, aided by the global uptake of e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle series.
Fourth-quarter net income grew more than seven times to NT$1.92 billion (US$65 million), or earnings per share (EPS) of NT$1.80, from NT$270 million in the fourth quarter of 2009, according to a company statement.
That brought last year’s total net profit to a record high NT$4.03 billion, reversing losses of NT$1.13 billion in 2009.
On a quarterly basis, E Ink’s fourth-quarter net income climbed 170 percent from NT$710 million in the third quarter, company data showed.
“A spike in global shipments of e-readers helped boost growth of E Ink’s revenues and earnings last year,” company chairman Scott Liu (劉思誠) told an investor conference.
With a global market share of more than 90 percent, E Ink would grow along with the industry, Liu said.
He said he was optimistic about sales and earnings this year because of growing demand for e-readers and an improving cost management.
This year, global shipments of e-readers is expected to triple to 30 million units, and E Ink would benefit from this rising trend, Liu said.
To cope with the strong demand, E Ink plans to expand capital spending to NT$4.5 billion this year from NT$1.5 billion last year, Liu said.
He said the capital spending would double the firm’s e-paper display capacity.
Flat panels made using the advanced technology of Fringe Field Switching (FFS), used in Apple Inc’s iPhone4, iPad and other high-end handheld devices, will also be an important growth driver for the company, Liu said.
FFS technology was developed by Hydis Technology Co, a South Korean firm that E Ink took over in 2007.
Liu rebutted a report by the Chinese-language Economic Daily News, saying it had no plans of selling a stake in Hydis to form strategic partnerships with other flat-panel makers.
E Ink’s revenues also reached a record-high NT$25.18 billion last year, up 56 percent from NT$16.07 billion last year.
Gross margin jumped to 32.4 percent last year from 3.2 percent in 2009, the company’s statement showed.
After beating its fourth-quarter EPS forecast of NT$1.44, Macquarie Securities said it expected E Ink to continue to benefit from the fast-growing demand for e-readers. The securities firm raised its price target for E Ink to NT$80, from NT$75.