Thu, Jan 09, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Hermes Microvision revenue forecast to rebound

RECOVERING SALES:Despite an initial decline in this quarter, the company is expected to recover next quarter due to the use of new inspection tools

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Local electron beam wafer inspection equipment maker Hermes Microvision Inc (漢微科) is forecast to post a low single-digit percentage decline in revenue this quarter from last quarter after reporting record sales for last quarter, Jih Sun Securities Co (日盛證券) said yesterday.

However, the company’s sales momentum will recover next quarter, driven mainly by the revenue contribution of the company’s new inspection tools for 16 nanometer and 14 nanometer process technology, the brokerage said in a client note.

“Hermes Microvision is expected to encounter slower pull-in orders from customers amid its product transition in the current quarter,” Jih Sun analyst Joe Lai (賴暉明) said.

Lai forecast the company to post strong sales momentum in the second quarter of the year after a soft quarter ending on March 31.

He also predicted Intel Corp would become the company’s second-largest client after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) this year, as the world’s leading semiconductor firms plan to procure more advanced e-beam wafer inspection tools to improve their product yield rates. Intel is the world’s largest chipmaker, while TSMC is the biggest wafer foundry on a contract basis.

Deutsche Bank has projected TSMC to account for between 24 and 26 percent of the company’s sales this year, followed by Intel’s 17 to 19 percent, Samsung Electronics Co’s 13 to 15 percent and GlobalFoundries Inc’s up to 14 percent.

Hermes Microvision’s sales for this year is estimated to grow 40 percent from last year and register another 32 percent annual increase next year, Deutsche Bank forecast recently. However, the company’s shares were under pressure yesterday as its sales for last month and last quarter were still below analysts’ forecasts.

The company’s stock lost 1.82 percent yesterday to close at NT$917 on the GRETAI Securities Market, where the index ended up 0.39 percent at 131.85 points.

On Tuesday, the Hsinchu-based semiconductor equipment maker reported its sales of NT$1.44 billion (US$47.5 million) for last quarter, up 2.43 percent quarter-on-quarter and 25.06 percent year-on-year.

Last month alone, sales expanded 113.83 percent month-on-month and 35.17 percent year-on-year to NT$670 million, the highest level in the company’s history, according to the company’s filing with the Taiwan Stock Exchange. As a result, the company closed out last year with a total revenue of NT$5.34 billion, up 27.49 percent from 2012, the filing showed.

Lai retained his “hold” rating on the stock, with a price target of NT$1,120 on Hermes Microvision.

“We believe the company still enjoys its technological leadership as its main rival, KLA-Tencor Corp, focuses mainly on inspection tools for 20 nanometer technology,” Lai said.

Hermes Microvision posted NT$24.84 in earnings per share for the first nine months of the year, up from NT$16.32 in the same period last year. Jih Sun yesterday projected the company to see earnings per share for all of last year increase 46.8 percent year-on-year to NT$29.29 and rise 14.03 percent to NT$33.4 for this year.

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