Thu, Jan 22, 2015 - Page 14 News List

Taiwan Business Quick Take

Staff writer, with agencies

SEMICONDUCTORS

Firm sells set-top box unit

Chipmaker Sunplus Technology Co (凌陽科技) on Tuesday said it would book a gain of NT$325 million (US$10.3 million) from selling its unprofitable set-top box chip unit to Beijing-based Availink Inc (中天聯科) for NT$330 million. As part of the deal, Sunplus is to subscribe to Availink’s new-share issue for NT$295 million, which will give it a 16.67 percent stake in the company, it said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The set-top-box business unit accounted for 10 to 15 percent of Sunplus’ total revenue last year, but posted a loss of NT$200 million. After the transaction is completed this quarter, Sunplus would lay off some engineers at the set-top-box division and focus on high-margin chips for cars, it said.

COMPUTERS

PC shipments fall 6.3%

PC shipments in the Asia-Pacific market excluding Japan fell by a slower 6.3 percent to 101 million units last year, following a 10.3 percent drop in 2013, International Data Corp (IDC) data showed. In the fourth quarter alone, shipments were flat year-on-year at 25.9 million units, slightly higher than the IDC’s forecasts. Acer Inc (宏碁), whose PC shipments contracted 14 percent year-on-year, accounted for 7.5 percent of the Asia-Pacific market, ranking it fourth. Asustek Computer Inc (華碩), whose shipments edged down 0.7 percent year-on-year, had a market share of 7.3 percent, the fifth best in the region.

TECHNOLOGY

Samsung to use own chips

Samsung Electronics Co is set to use its own microprocessors in the next version of the Galaxy S smartphone, people with direct knowledge of the matter said yesterday. Samsung, the world’s largest smartphone maker, tested a new version of Qualcomm Inc’s Snapdragon chip, known as the 810, and decided not to use it, the sources said. The new Galaxy S would be equipped with Samsung’s most advanced chips, one of the people said. The South Korean company is trying to become more self-reliant and boost its own processor-making division as it spends US$15 billion on a new factory outside Seoul.

MANUFACTURING

Uni-President outlook ‘solid’

As polyethylene terephthalate (PET) resin prices have fallen by 35 percent this year, Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業) is expected to see significant cost savings — especially its China operations — and therefore margin improvement, Barclays Capital Securities Taiwan Ltd said in a note on Tuesday. Along with reduced foreign-exchange risks and potential market share gains in the nation’s fresh milk segment, Uni-President’s profit growth outlook for this year appears solid, Barclays Capital said, reiterating its “overweight” rating on the stock with a price target of NT$64.8.

DISPLAYS

Citigroup bullish on AUO

Citigroup has revised upward its earnings forecasts for AU Optronics Corp (AUO, 友達光電) by between 59 percent and 63 percent for this year and next year, citing the company’s continuous margin expansion. Citigroup Global Markets analyst Arthur Lai (賴昱璋) said in a client note on Tuesday that AUO’s gross margin would rise to 14.8 percent and 15.4 percent this year and next year respectively, while its earnings per share could grow 54 percent year-on-year this year and 13 percent next year, given stronger panel demand leading to higher utilization rates, as well as an improving product mix and greater cost reductions. Citigroup raised its price target to NT$23 from NT$19, with a “buy” rating.

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