Thu, Feb 01, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Macronix bucks seasonal trend, posts growth

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Memory chipmaker Macronix International Ltd (旺宏電子) yesterday posted 21 percent quarterly growth in net profit for last quarter, bucking the normal seasonal downtrend as persistently strong customer demand bolstered chip prices and shipments.

Hsinchu-based Macronix, which supplies read-only memory (ROM) chips to Japan’s Nintendo Co, expects the growth momentum to carry into this year as its long-term efforts in NAND flash memory chips bear fruit.

“The first quarter might be slightly weaker than the fourth quarter of last year due to seasonal factors, but demand still looks very good,” Macronix president Lu Chih-yuan (盧志遠) told investors in a teleconference. “The book-to-bill ratio is higher than one, meaning bookings are more 1 billion this quarter. We are running our factories at 100 percent.”

“We do not expect to have a weaker period this year than for all of last year. We are quite optimistic,” Lu said.

Last year, Macronix’s revenue swelled to a record high of NT$34.2 billion (US$1.17 billion), up 42 percent from NT$24.13 billion in 2016, a company financial statement said.

Macronix’s prediction is based on expectations of stable prices for memory chips in high-density and high-quality segments, where the company has greater exposure.

In the quarter that ended on Dec. 31 last year, net profit jumped to a seven-year-high of NT$2.58 billion, compared with NT$2.12 billion in the third quarter. That represented 3.39-fold growth from NT$703 million a year earlier.

Last year, Macronix saw net profit improve to NT$5.52 billion, reversing a net loss of NT$243 million in 2016. Earnings per share jumped to NT$3.12, from losses per share of NT$0.14.

Gross margin climbed to 43 percent last quarter, the best in the past few years, compared with 38 percent a quarter ago and 32 percent a year earlier.

“We benefited from a favorable product mix,” Lu said.

“NAND is gradually becoming one of the company’s main product lines,” Lu said. “Prices and shipments climbed in the fourth quarter.”

During the fourth quarter of last year, NAND flash memory chips saw a 48 percent growth quarter-on-quarter, or a 1.65-fold growth year-on-year. That helped boost the chips revenue contribution to 20 percent last quarter, from 14 percent in the previous quarter.

This year, NAND flash memory chips are to account for between 20 percent and 30 percent of the company’s total revenue, compared with 15 percent last year, Lu said.

Macronix has this year budgeted NT$3.9 billion for capital spending on technological upgrades and productivity improvement, a 75 percent increase from NT$2.22 billion last year.

Macronix shares surged 3.28 percent to NT$45.7, in Taipei trading yesterday, its highest level in about two months.

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