Fri, Sep 14, 2012 - Page 14 News List

Release of iPhone 5 has mixed impact on shares of supply-chain firms

FAILURE TO EXCITE:Apple’s latest gadget had an underwhelming influence on the shares of supply-chain firms and some analysts are worried about Apple’s future

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

The US debut of the iPhone 5 overnight was met with a mixed response in the shares of Taiwanese supply-chain firms, as analysts said the much-anticipated Apple product was mostly in line with market expectations, although it still poses a threat to HTC Corp (宏達電).

Among the US company’s various supply-chain companies, system assemblers Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海) were unchanged at NT$93 and Pegatron Corp (和碩) rose 2.64 percent to NT$38.85, while case maker Foxconn Technology Co (鴻準), a Hon Hai affiliate, fell 1.27 percent to NT$117.

Market-research firm Ovum from Melbourne, Australia, said the hardware features of the newly launched iPhone 5 were mostly similar to the leaked images that have surfaced in recent months, including a 4-inch retina screen, a thinner and lighter form factor, LTE connectivity, a faster A6 dual-core processor and a smaller connector.

Local brokerage Capital Securities Co (群益證券) said in a separate note that the new iPhone did not deliver any surprises and expected shares of many of local suppliers to enter a period of price correction in the near term.

Consumers' pent up demand for iPhone 5 and Apple's broad global reach are likely to ensure strong phone sales next quarter, howerver, "The sales momentum of iPhone 5 is likely to slow down in the first quarter of next year," Capital wrote in a note.

That would mean supply-chain firms' "pull in orders from Apple may start to decline as early as in November, leading to a relatively flat growth in their sales and a limited upside room for their share prices," Capital said.

Shares of touch-panel maker Wintek Corp (勝華) declined 0.92 percent to NT$16.1 while TPK Holding Co (宸鴻) edged up 0.47 percent to NT$431.

Camera-lens maker Largan Precision Co (大立光) moved down 0.92 percent to NT$645, but Genius Electronic Optical Co (玉晶光) was up 0.95 percent to NT$213.

Printed circuit board makers Unimicron Technology Corp (欣興) ended 0.76 percent higher at NT$33.25.

Zhen Ding Technology Holding (臻鼎) closed down 2.83 percent to NT$96.2.

Connector maker Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co (正崴) closed up 0.29 percent to NT$69.7 and battery pack supplier Simplo Technology Co (新普) ended down 0.82 percent to NT$182.5.

Ovum said it expected the new iPhone would become Apple Inc’s most successful smartphone to date, but the researcher warned of a long-term risk associated with the US consumer electronics giant’s iOS platform.

“Without a redesign of the iOS user experience and underlying software platform in the next two years, Apple will find itself in a position similar to Nokia and RIM,” Ovum said in a statement yesterday.

However, Fubon Securities Co (富邦證券) said historical data showed that the share prices of Apple supply-chain stocks have typically underperformed a few days before and after an iPhone launch due to “sell-on-fact” selling pressure.

“However, more than half the time, iPhone stocks outperformed one quarter after the launch when companies manage things well,” Fubon Securities said in a research note yesterday. It said that Hon Hai usually performed best after the iPhone launch because of the company’s position at the bottom of the supply chain.

Most brokerages such as Barclays, Deutsche Bank and HSBC yesterday maintained their bullish views on Hon Hai, expecting the company to see revenue and profit improve this quarter, with further rises in the final quarter.

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