Leading machinery maker Hiwin Technologies Co (上銀科技) yesterday said its industrial robot segment might see profit contribution in the second half of this year amid growing demand for automation in China.
“The China Manufacturing 2025 initiative is driving an industrial demand for transformation and upgrading, which we can take advantage of,” Hiwin chairman Eric Chuo (卓永財) said at an investors’ conference in Taipei.
While the firm’s robot business has not yet reached the scale of economy it needs to become profitable, with revenue contributing only 6 percent to the company’s total revenue in the first quarter, and the introduction of Hiwin robotic products to Chinese companies took more time than he had expected, Chuo said the company could see further progress in the robot business over the next two quarters, due to help from local system integrators and its own production allocation.
Hiwin’s medical robots have earned regulatory approval in China, Taiwan and Europe, Chuo said, adding that the firm has sold 10 units of lower limb rehabilitation machines to China and is hoping to ship 20 more units this year.
Chuo said the company’s strategies in the medical area are to focus on hand rehabilitation machines and robots that can assist surgeries, as well as on compact rehabilitation robots for home use, set to hit the market by the end of this year.
In the first quarter, the company’s net income dropped 72.11 percent annually to NT$143.75 million (US$4.41 million), with earnings per share falling to NT$0.53 from last year’s NT$1.92 over the same period, company data showed.
Consolidated revenue decreased 17.96 percent annually to NT$2.98 billion, while gross margin declined to 34 percent from 39.2 percent a year earlier, which the company attributed to last quarter’s slack season in China over the Lunar Year holidays.
Sales contribution in the Asian region decreased to 45 percent in the January-to-March quarter, down 11 percent quarterly, while the European region increased to 31 percent, up 8 percent quarter-on-quarter, the company said.
Looking ahead, Chuo said the company is positive about its business outlook, which is benefiting from the recent devaluation of the New Taiwan dollar and the appreciation of the yen. Revenue and profit this year might outperform last year’s levels, he said.
However, Chuo said any adjustment in exchange rates should be considered as a “neutral” impact on the industry.
“Exchange rates are not the panacea. The government should reduce external interference factors in the market, while the industries have to work hard too,” he said.
Hiwin shares gained 0.38 percent to close at NT$130.5 in Taipei trading yesterday.
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