Sat, Nov 02, 2013 - Page 14 News List

Catcher predicts record Q4 sales

POSITIVE TREND:The casing supplier plans to enter the low-end smartphone casing market to drive growth and expects profitability to continue improving into next year

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Metal casing supplier Catcher Technology Co (可成科技) yesterday forecast that fourth-quarter revenue would increase by between 5 percent and 10 percent sequentially to a record NT$11.48 billion (US$390.61 million), driven by increasing shipments of casings for smartphones.

Catcher supplies metal casings for Apple Inc’s MacBook and iPad products.

“It should not be difficult for Catcher to achieve a high single-digit percentage growth in sales this quarter, as the company has initiated several ‘big projects’ for different customers,” Catcher chairman Allen Horng (洪水樹) told investors in a conference call.

Since the third quarter, Catcher has seen orders grow for casings used in laptops, as well as those for smartphones and tablets, Horng said.

Overall, orders are forecast to continue increasing this quarter, although there are downsides, including weakening demand for traditional PCs and lukewarm sales of high-end smartphones by some of Catcher’s clients, he added.

“Catcher’s fourth-quarter profitability looks quite promising, and the positive trend is likely to continue into next year,” Catcher chief financial officer James Wu (巫俊毅) said.

Wu told investors that Catcher’s profit last quarter reached NT$2.77 billion, up 40.3 percent year-on-year, but down 23.8 percent from the previous quarter.

Earnings per share totaled NT$3.69 during last quarter, according to Catcher’s financial report.

The annual expansion in third-quarter net income was mainly supported by strong demand for smartphones and tablets, Wu said.

To complete new orders from customers, Catcher has increased its capacity and utilized up to 16,000 computer numerical control machines as of September, according to the company.

Asked if Catcher’s capacity expansion plan was aimed at winning Apple’s orders for casings used in the iPhone 5S, Wu said: “It is not easy to be selected as a supplier of the company’s [Apple] new products, but Catcher will certainly be on the list.”

“All in all, Catcher will for sure benefit from the intensifying competition,” Wu told investors in response to questions regarding Apple’s plan to diversify its supply chain.

Catcher currently supplies casings for clients, including Apple, Dell Inc, Acer Inc (宏碁), Samsung Electronics Co, Sony Corp, HTC Corp (宏達電), BlackBerry Ltd and Motorola Mobility LLC.

For the whole year, Catcher forecast sales of casings used in notebook computers would decline and account for 35 percent to 40 percent of the company’s total sales, while sales of smartphone and tablet casings would increase and account for the remaining 60 percent to 65 percent.

Because growth of high-end smartphone shipments in the global market is decelerating, Catcher has begun talks with China’s entry-level smartphone vendors and expects to receive new orders from next year, Wu said.

By product, casings for smartphones will remain Catcher’s biggest sales driver, followed by those for tablets and then laptops, he said.

Specifically, sales of casings made from carbon fiber or glass fiber are forecast to triple to NT$3 billion next year from an estimated NT$1 billion this year, accounting for more than 10 percent of Catcher’s total annual sales, he added.

Catcher’s shares closed up 0.58 percent at NT$172 yesterday, outperforming the benchmark TAIEX, which fell 0.73 percent.

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