Tue, Aug 16, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Catcher to invest in ramping up production

By Jason Tan  /  Staff eporter

A man walks past a HTC advertisement in Taipei yesterday. HTC, the world’s No. 5 smartphone maker, said yesterday it would triple its outlets in China to 2,000 by the end of this year from the current 650.

Photo: Pichi Chuang, Reuters

Catcher Technology Co (可成科技), which makes metal casings for Apple Inc’s MacBook Air and HTC Corp’s (宏達電) smartphones, yesterday said it planned to invest more than NT$10 billion (US$345.57 million) to expand production capacity in Taiwan to cope with rising clients’ orders.

Meanwhile, HTC, the world’s No. 5 smartphone maker, reiterated yesterday that its third-quarter revenues would be about NT$137 billion, with shipments rising to 13.5 million units. Gross margin is expected to be 27.5 percent to 28.5 percent this quarter, the company said.

The two companies were among several listed firms invited by the Taiwan Stock Exchange to hold conferences to improve market sentiment and boost investors’ confidence.

Catcher corporate finance vice president James Wu (巫俊毅) said the company purchased three plots of land in Tainan this year that span more than 27,000 ping (89,257m2), and investments would exceed NT$10 billion if all the projects came to fruition.

The projects are being planned because some clients requested it to set up production facilities here to tap the complete supply chain, he told reporters on the sidelines after yesterday’s conference.

However, Wu said those investments could be hampered by a lack of local manpower willing to engage in labor-intensive jobs.

Catcher expected its production facilities to be busy as more and more consumers buy tablet PCs, smartphones and ultrabooks — next-generation super-slim, powerful notebooks with tablet-like features.

And these gadgets will use metal casings in some parts for sturdier exteriors, thinner and sleeker designs and for better heat dissipation, he said.

“Tablets and smartphones are the best-selling gadgets this year and Catcher is in the right field,” MFC Global Investment Management (Taiwan) assistant equity investment vice president Stevie Chou (周奇賢) said.

Its solid business momentum should continue into the second half, with more such offerings to debut in the consumer market, Chou added.

Catcher, one of Taiwan’s largest manufacturers of magnesium alloy parts, is the industry’s biggest light metal solution provider, operating 10,000 sets of computer--numerically-controlled (CNC) machines.

And the number of CNC machines will increase to 12,000 sets by December, Wu added.

The company adjusted upward its capital expenditure to more than NT$7 billion in April from NT$3 billion in January.

Catcher reported NT$2.37 billion in earnings in the second quarter, up 183 percent from the same period last year and a rise of 24 percent from the January-to-March period.

Earnings per share were NT$3.43, compared with NT$1.26 in the second quarter last year and NT$2.87 in the first quarter.

Second-quarter revenue was NT$8.9 billion, up 69 percent from last year and up 25 percent from the first quarter.

As for HTC, the company told investors yesterday it would triple its China outlets to 2,000 by the end of this year from the current 650. The company said it also had made provisions for continuing patent disputes with Apple and expected no significant impact on its business.

Shares of Catcher closed up 3.4 percent at NT$258.5 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday before the conference, while HTC ended 3.38 percent higher at NT$827.

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