Sat, Feb 03, 2018 - Page 12 News List

Winbond profit hits record NT$5.82bn

GROWTH ENGINE:Cryptocurrency mining and industrial automation are expected to drive demand for specialty DRAM, which contributed 40 percent of total revenue

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Winbond Electronics Corp president Chan Tung-yi poses for a photograph in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: Hung Yu-fang, Taipei Times

Winbond Electronics Corp (華邦電), the world’s No. 3 NOR flash memory chip supplier, yesterday reported that its annual earnings for last year were its highest ever and gave an optimistic outlook for this year on the back of continued robust demand for NOR flash and DRAM products.

Net profit last year ballooned 85.35 percent to a new record of NT$5.82 billion (US$199.1 million), compared with NT$3.14 billion in 2016, company data showed.

Earnings per share were NT$1.54, compared with NT$0.81 in 2016 and the highest in 17 years, the Hsinchu-based company said.

Consolidated revenue last year totaled NT$47.59 billion, up 13.07 percent year-on-year, company data showed.

Winbond attributed the strong results to significant growth in its flash memory products, which exceeded the momentum of its specialty and mobile DRAM.

Flash memory products are Winbond’s biggest revenue source, making up 47 percent of its overall revenue last year thanks to favorable market conditions and increased capacity.

They were followed by specialty DRAM chips, with a 40 percent share, and mobile memory products, with a 13 percent contribution.

“We built our strength in flash memory products for nearly 10 years. Our efforts started to bear fruit last year,” Winbond president Chan Tung-yi (詹東義) told an investors’ conference in Taipei.

Gross margin last year rose 5 percentage points annually to 34 percent, while operating margin gained 5 percentage points to 14 percent, company data showed.

Winbond’s two main growth engines — flash memory and specialty DRAM chips — are forecast to continue expanding this year, as demand growth continues to outpace the supply increase of flash memory and DRAM chips in the global IC industry, Chan said.

The demand for specialty DRAM is expected to be driven by the new applications, such as “smart” speakers, cryptocurrency mining and industrial automation, Chan said, adding that code storage flash chips would be supported by rising use of “smart” speakers, facial recognition technology and active-matrix organic LED panels.

He forecast that the average selling prices for single-level cell NAND, NOR flash and specialty DRAM chips will climb further this year from last year.

The company’s board has approved a capital expenditure plan of NT$18.5 billion for this year, up 21.71 percent from last year’s NT$15.2 billion, Chan said.

The capital expenditure would be mainly used to expand production capacity at a plant in Taichung and to implement technology migration for DRAM chips, he said.

Total capacity is to increase from 46,000 wafers to 52,000 wafers per month this year, and grow to 54,000 wafers monthly next year, he added.

Winbond shares yesterday fell 2.9 percent to close at NT$23.4, underperforming the TAIEX, which edged down 0.3 percent.

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