Sat, Apr 19, 2014 - Page 13 News List

Hermes Microvision profit climbs on annual basis; TSMC shares hit record

UPS AND DOWNS:Quarterly results took a hit from new product transitions, but the yearly numbers reflected growth for the equipment provider, it said

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Local electron beam wafer inspection equipment supplier Hermes Microvision Inc (漢微科) yesterday posted a 16.2 percent quarterly decline in net profit for last quarter, due to new product transition.

On an annual basis, profit expanded 10.15 percent from NT$532 million, or NT$8.04 a share, during the first quarter of last year, aided by asset gains.

Net profit fell to NT$586 million (US$19.38 million), or NT$8.23 per share, last quarter, from NT$702 million, or NT$10.21 per share, in the final quarter of last year, according to the company’s financial statement.

Gross margin slid slightly to 70 percent last quarter from 71 percent in the prior quarter, while operating margin contracted by 6.2 percentage points to 39.7 percent over the same period, mainly due to a lower sales scale, Yuanta Securities Corp (元大證券) researcher Steve Huang (黃柏璁) said in a research note yesterday.

The company’s revenue for the first three months of the year fell 18.82 percent quarter-on-quarter and 37.25 percent year-on-year to NT$1.17 billion, according to its stock exchange filing issued last week.

In February, Hermes Microvision said the first quarter would be a weak period for the company because of new product launches.

In an investor conference earlier this month, the company said revenue would jump 50 percent this quarter from the previous quarter, and forecast full-year revenue would increase by between 25 percent and 30 percent from last year’s NT$5.34 billion.

Huang said he expects the company’s gross margin to remain above 70 percent because of its position as the world’s sole electron beam supplier for sub-20 nanometer (nm) logic circuit fabrication, with earnings set to hit a record high of NT$10.50 per share this quarter, up 28 percent from last quarter.

On April 7, Hermes Microvision said it expects to keep factories at full utilization before a new plant in the Southern Taiwan Science Park (南部科學園區) starts operation by the year-end, which will help enhance its capacity to between 100 and 150 units of wafer inspection equipment a year from the current 50 units.

The company holds 85 percent of the world’s electron beam wafer inspection market and counts industry-leading Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and US chipmaker Intel Corp among its primary customers.

Hermes Microvision shares rose 3.17 percent to NT$1,300 on the GRETAI Securities Market. Yuanta maintains its “buy” rating on the stock, with a target price of NT$1,680.

Meanwhile, TSMC shares increased 2.5 percent to NT$123 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, its highest since shares were listed in 1994, after the company on Thursday forecast better-than-expected sequential growth of 22 percent in revenue this quarter to between NT$180 billion and NT$183 billion.

TSMC said its capital spending would remain in the same high gear next year at around US$10 billion as this year, with most of the funding set to be used on advanced 20nm, 16nm and 10nm technologies.

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