Mon, Feb 05, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Hiwin looks to Japan for investment

OPPORTUNITY:The machinery maker is looking to further overseas expansion by cementing its position in Japan, as well as expanding capacity in South Korea and Italy

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter, in Taichung

Hiwin Technologies chairman Eric Chuo smiles during an interview in Taichung on Friday.

Photo: CNA

Machinery maker Hiwin Technologies Co (上銀科技), which has set up branches in nine countries, on Friday said that seeking investment opportunities in Japan would be its top priority this year.

“We are considering purchasing a plot of 7,800 ping [25,785m2] in Kobe, Japan, to build an innovation center, warehouses and ball screw production lines, and to better serve customers there,” Hiwin chairman Eric Chuo (卓永財) said at the company’s annual banquet for staff in Taichung.

Hiwin is also considering building plants in Japan’s Aichi Prefecture, he said, adding that the company plans to finalize its decision in the third quarter of this year at the earliest.

The company also aims to cement its position in Japan by acquiring a Japanese machinery maker by the end of this year, Chuo said, adding that in the coming months, Hiwin plans to expand capacity in South Korea and Italy, where it already has subsidiaries.

“To fund those overseas projects, we do not rule out the possibility of raising capital this year,” Chuo said.

Chuo declined to elaborate on the company’s capital expenditure budget for this year, but he provided an optimistic business outlook, saying the global machinery market is expected to remain undersupplied throughout the year because of a shortfall of key machinery components.

The shortage of linear guideways and ball screws, the Taichung-based machinery maker’s two benchmark products, is expected to persist this year, but higher prices resulting from the tight supply would boost the company’s revenue, Hiwin said.

Hiwin was also upbeat about its subsidiaries, and said that Hiwin Mikrosystem Co (大銀微系統) has set a sales target of NT$3 billion (US$102.6 million) for this year, compared with last year’s nearly NT$2.4 billion.

Hiwin Mikrosystem, which is mainly engaged in the research and manufacturing of precision machinery components, plans to make its debut on the Taipei Exchange’s Emerging Stock Board in the fourth quarter, Chuo said.

Luren Precision Co (陸聯精密), Hiwin’s metal cutting machine tool unit, is expected to break even this year, he said, adding that Luren is to expand its distribution channels in Europe through collaboration with the UK-based Matrix Machine Tool Ltd.

Hiwin on Friday posted a record-high revenue of NT$2.26 billion for last month, up 77.76 percent from NT$1.27 billion a year earlier, company data showed.

The figure came after the company reported revenue of NT$21.17 billion for last year, up 31.3 percent from 2016 and also a record high.

“We believe Hiwin will continue to run at full capacity in the first quarter, but expect sales to decline 6 percent quarter-on-quarter owing to the Lunar New Year holiday, while year-on-year growth will stay above 30 percent,” Morgan Stanley analysts Melrose Chiu (邱詩閔) and Sharon Shih (施曉娟) said in a note on Jan. 8.

They added that its operating margin would stay at a relatively high 17.1 percent.

Hiwin shares on Friday gained 1.07 percent to close at NT$377 in Taipei trading, the highest level in the company’s history.

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