Semiconductor testing equipment supplier Scientech Corp (辛耘) yesterday posted weaker-than-expected quarterly net profit of NT$5.47 million (US$180,700) due to slow sales of 12-inch reclaimed wafers.
Last quarter’s net profit dropped 83.82 percent from NT$33.85 million in the same period last year. Earnings per share fell to NT$0.07, compared with NT$0.45 a year ago, said the company, whose clients include Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s top contract chipmaker.
“The results fell short of the estimates we made in December last year, when we forecast net profit for this quarter would shrink year-on-year to a level much higher than the actual outcome,” Scientech chief executive officer Hsu Ming-chi (許明棋) told an investors’ conference in Taipei.
Hsu attributed the disappointing results to clients postponing orders to avoid idle capacity, a lower average selling price and rising research and development expenses.
However, he expressed optimism over prospects this quarter.
“Our business seems to have bottomed out last quarter, as clients have gradually increased their orders from last month,” Hsu said.
He forecast that sales this quarter would increase sequentially, but be flat compared with the same period last year, when it posted record sales of NT$763 million.
Scientech also manufactures semiconductor testing equipment and provides wafer reclamation services for United Microelectronics Corp (聯電), Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (日月光半導體) and Siliconware Precision Industry Co (矽品精密).
To improve its profitability, Scientech plans to install new assembly lines at its plant in the Hsinchu Science Park (新竹科學園區) later this quarter to offer clients new wafer reclamation services using silicon-carbide (SiC), instead of pure silicon, germanium or glass, Hsu said.
Given the compound’s hardness, SiC-based wafers are a better option for manufacturing high-power automotive parts and LED devices.
Scientech currently has a monthly production capacity of 3,000 SiC wafers, but expects to more than triple this to 10,000 units from July after it finishes installing its new assembly lines, he added.
The new wafer reclamation services are expected to fuel Scientech’s sales in the second half of the year given their high selling price and become the company’s key sales driver next year, Hsu said.
The expansions are forecast to help lift full-year sales by a double-digit percentage from last year’s NT$3.06 billion, despite a substantial increase in research and development expense, he added.