Ichia Technologies Inc (毅嘉科技), which supplies handset keypads to BlackBerry Ltd, yesterday said pretax profit increased 1,300 percent to NT$264.89 million (US$8.8 million) last quarter, due to increased shipments of flexible, printed circuit board (PCB) integrated components.
On a quarterly basis, Ichia’s pretax profit grew 99.46 percent, from NT$132.8 million in the previous quarter.
The company said its first-quarter results were driven mostly by flexible printed circuit boards used in mobile devices, as well as those in automotive parts.
“Our sales and net profit may reach another record level this year, as the company continues corporate restructuring and rolling out new products,” Ichia general manager Larry Sun (孫永祥) told an investors’ conference in Taoyuan County.
To catch market trends, Ichia plans to start selling a new flexible printed circuit product this year that is composed of a polyimide board and can be electroplated with more circuits, enabling clients to make slimmer and smaller devices.
Ichia has trademarked its new manufacturing technology as “PEDLIM” in Taiwan, China, Japan, South Korea and the US, after researching and developing it over the past two years.
The company plans to start mass producing PEDLIM products for two clients beginning this quarter, Sun said.
While Ichia’s shipments of flexible PCBs are expected to grow this year from last year, the company’s new product is “not likely to help boost our annual sales at its current scale,” Sun said.
In contrast, as more vehicle vendors adopt in-car touch-screen multimedia systems for their new models, Ichia’s shipments of flexible PCBs for cars and trucks are forecast to grow by 10 percent on a quarterly basis, beginning this quarter.
Last quarter, sales of the company’s automotive items accounted for about 30 percent of its total sales of NT$2.78 billion, compared with 22 percent last year, Sun said.
The figure is expected to grow to 40 percent this year, to become the company’s major sales source, he added.
Ichia’s flexible PCB business accounted for 91 percent of its total sales last quarter. Mechanical integrated components, including keypads equipped in BlackBerry’s smartphone products, made up the rest, down from a 30 percent share a year ago, data showed.