Mon, Nov 07, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Apple casing supplier’s sales drop on plant shutdown

Staff Writer, with CNA

Catcher Technology Co (可成科技), a Taiwan-based metal casing supplier for Apple Inc, said on Saturday its consolidated sales for last month fell 15.8 percent from a month earlier because of a shutdown of its operations in Suzhou in China’s Jiangsu Province.

In the middle of last month, operations at Catcher’s Suzhou facility were suspended by Chinese authorities after an unusual odor was detected at the plant.

After the shutdown, the company had forecast its sales last month would fall 20 percent from September, and 40 percent this month if its Suzhou operations did not resume.

However, last month’s sales were better than expected because the company had assigned its facilities in other Chinese cities to assist.

In addition, Catcher’s stock of semi-finished products made up the shortage of production capacity from the shutdown.

Catcher posted NT$3.21 billion (US$107 million) in consolidated sales for last month, compared with NT$3.82 billion in September. Last month’s figure was 44.9 percent higher year-on-year.

The month-on-month decline for last month’s sales snapped a rising streak in the previous five months.

In the first 10 months, Catcher registered NT$29.99 billion in consolidated sales, up 78 percent from a year earlier.

Catcher said it is striving to improve working conditions at its Suzhou plant by testing the renovation work it has finished since the shutdown.

As long as Chinese authorities certify the renovation, operations at the plant are expected to resume in the middle of this month, it said.

Described as one of the -“poison apples” in the Apple supply chain by Chinese environmentalists, Catcher witnessed a tumble in its share price last month after the suspension of its Suzhou plant.

Before the shutdown, Catcher had been one of the favorite stocks of foreign institutional investors, thanks to strong growth in its bottom line.

In the third quarter, the company posted NT$3.69 billion in consolidated net profit, an increase of 55.6 percent from the second quarter and also up 250.3 percent from a year earlier on the back of the booming smartphone market.

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