Wed, Nov 11, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Hiwin upbeat about earnings ahead

ROBOTS TO RESCUE:The company is preparing to launch household robots for local and Japanese consumers, confident that they would drive the firm’s growth

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Hiwin Technologies Co (上銀科技), the nation’s leading machinery maker, yesterday said that the robust demand for its industrial and medical robots would mildly offset the softness of its machine tool business this quarter.

“The outlook for the machine tool industry this quarter is soft compared with last quarter, due to continued weak demand across the market,” Hiwin chairman Eric Chuo (卓永財) told reporters on the sidelines of the firm’s earnings conference in Taipei.

Last quarter, Hiwin’s net income plunged 21.57 percent annually to NT$596 million (US$18.14 million). On a quarterly basis, profitability surged 39.25 percent from the NT$428 million recorded in the previous quarter.

Earnings per share were NT$2.21 last quarter, compared with NT$2.82 per share a year earlier and NT$1.59 per share in the second quarter.

The performance of Hiwin, the nation’s leading supplier of ball screws, liner guideways and industrial robots, would be mainly driven by the shipments of robots and the high-end five-axes machine tools this quarter, Chuo said.

Commenting on the company’s industrial robot business, Chou said the company has inked a deal with an international semiconductor equipment supplier to ship more than 200 industrial wafer robots this quarter and next quarter.

Hiwin also supplies industrial robots to consumer electronics makers in China, and to pharmaceutical companies and processed food makers in Taiwan, Chuo said.

He said Hiwin’s robotic gait training system series for medical use is expected to obtain certification from China by the end of this month and the firm would start shipping the products there next year.

“The entry to China’s medical robots market would significantly help Hiwin’s profitability and sales performance,” Chuo said.

The company also plans to launch a “compact” version of its existing medical robots in Japan next year, introducing a household variant of the machine.

Hiwin’s bathing assistant robots are expected to hit the domestic market in the first half of next year and the Japanese market in the second half, Chuo said.

While the demand for robots is increasing, the segment’s gross margin within the company remains relatively low due to high costs of key components, Chuo said, adding that the firm is trying to find ways to develop key components on its own to reduce costs.

Although the machine tool industry’s softness might extend to the first half of next year due to declining demand in China, Chuo said he remains upbeat about Hiwin’s performance, supported by the firm’s robots and industrial automation segment.

“We foresee significant growth from the robots segment next year,” he said.

Shares of Hiwin fell 0.28 percent to NT$178.5 in Taipei trading yesterday, outperforming the TAIEX, which lost 1.22 percent.

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