Fri, Jun 22, 2018 - Page 12 News List

ASE expects growth in coming quarters

SAFE FROM TARIFFS?The chipmaker’s COO said very few of the US tariffs on Chinese goods would target semiconductors, as the US exports more of them than it imports

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter, in Kaohsiung

ASE Industrial Holding chief operating officer Tien Wu yesterday attends the firm’s annual general meeting in Kaohsiung.

Photo: Hung You-fang, Taipei Times

ASE Industrial Holding Co Ltd (ASE, 日月光投控) yesterday said it expects revenue to grow this quarter and in the next two quarters, thanks to resilient demand from the communications, computer, automotive and consumer electronics sectors.

Based on the company’s capacity and components requested by customers, “we will stick to our forecast that [revenue] will grow quarter-on-quarter during the second, third and fourth quarters,” ASE chief operating officer Tien Wu (吳田玉) told reporters on the sidelines of the company’s annual general meeting in Kaohsiung.

It was the first shareholders’ meeting after the company acquired local peer Siliconware Precision Industries Co (SPIL, 矽品精密) in April.

“The seasonality is pretty much in line with that in the past, with the strongest growth in the third quarter,” Wu said. “We have a broad customer base. Overall, demand is very healthy. We hope to report good results this year.”

Four months ago, ASE estimated that revenue this year would grow in a similar pattern to the past few years, but at a faster pace than last year.

The company yesterday reiterated its solid growth outlook, despite the escalating US-China trade spat.

Trade disputes between the world’s two biggest economies “will not have any substantial impact on the global semiconductor [industry] for the time being,” Wu said.

“We believe the US and China are seeking a solution to China’s unfair trade practice and are looking to balance trade between the two countries,” he added.

Earlier this month, the US said it is to impose 25 percent tariffs on US$50 billion worth of Chinese goods, which it said was essential to prevent further unfair transfers of US technology and intellectual property to China.

The Office of the US Trade Representative has released a list of products that are to be taxed from July 6.

“The latest list showed that fewer semiconductor products are included [in the tariff scheme]. China exports far less semiconductor products and equipment to the US than the US exports to China,” Wu said.

Semiconductors accounted for a very small portion of the product list, which covered 1,300 Chinese goods when it was first released in April, he said.

“However, escalating tensions between the US and China creates great uncertainty for the industry,” Wu said. “We do not want to see any levies.”

Semiconductor manufacturers have been exempted from paying tariffs since the invention of the technology decades ago, which has helped cut the cost of semiconductor products and made them widely available worldwide, Wu said.

Synergies from the combination of ASE and SPIL would become noticeable only from 2020, as Chinese competition regulators have required that the two companies operate independently until the end of next year.

For now, ASE is only allowed to collaborate with SPIL on developing new technologies, Wu said.

During the meeting, shareholders approved the distribution of a cash dividend of NT$2.5 per common share by allocating NT$10.8 billion (US$356.41 million) of capital surplus.

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