Sino-American Silicon Products Inc (SAS, 中美矽晶), one of Taiwan’s leading solar-grade crystalline silicon wafer suppliers, has decided to give its employees a pay raise of between 3 percent and 5 percent this year.
Sino-American made the announcement at its year-end dinner on Friday and said that as the company posted an almost 20 percent increase in consolidated sales last year, its employees deserve the wage hike.
For the whole of last year, the company posted about NT$22.2 billion (US$730 million) in consolidated sales, up 17 percent from a year earlier.
Sino-American chairman Lu Ming-kuang (盧明光) said the global solar energy business has hit a turning point and he expects his company’s core solar energy business to grow this year.
On the back of rising global demand, prices of crystalline silicon wafers have recovered to about US$1.07 this month from US$0.92 to US$0.93 quoted for the second half of last year, market analysts said.
They said it seems that the solar energy industry has climbed out of the doldrums seen in the past two years.
In the first nine months of last year, Sino-American posted NT$0.71 in earnings per share, compared with NT$2.37 in loss per share recorded over the same period of 2012. However, its core solar energy business still incurred losses.
In addition to silicon wafer production, the company operates semiconductor and sapphire-manufacturing businesses.
Sino-American said its subsidiary, GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓), which is a supplier of 3-12 inch semiconductor wafers, is riding a wave of growth and will continue to develop value-added products to boost its competitive edge.
In the nine-month period, GlobalWafer enjoyed a more than 10 percent year-on-year increase in revenue totaling NT$15.5 billion, accounting for almost 70 percent of Sino-American’s total sales.
The subsidiary is expanding production capacity, with a new 8-inch production line scheduled to be completed soon.
Also upbeat about the solar energy business, Gigastorage Corp (國碩科技), another solar wafer supplier in Taiwan, said prices of crystalline silicon wafers could rise to US$1.20 in the second quarter.
Analysts said it is possible for Gigastorage to turn a profit in the first quarter of the year. In the first nine months of last year, it incurred NT$1.09 in loss per share.
They added that Gigastorage’s production capacity could rise about 25 percent in the second quarter from the first quarter and that its shipments for this year could hit 150 million units, up from 70 million units recorded last year.