Mon, Feb 11, 2019 - Page 15 News List

Largan sales up 4% despite slow market

HIGH RESOLUTION:Revenue this quarter is expected to fall to this year’s lowest, but analysts expect sales momentum to recover on a trend for triple-camera setups

By Chen Cheng-hui  /  Staff reporter

Largan Precision Co (大立光), the nation’s leading smartphone camera lens supplier, on Tuesday last week said that sales last month rose 4 percent from a month earlier.

Consolidated revenue rose from NT$3.23 billion (US$105.1 million) in December last year to NT$3.35 billion, but the figure was still 5 percent lower than the NT$3.52 billion it posted in January last year, the company said in a statement posted on its Web site.

Last month, lenses with 8 megapixels accounted for 10 to 20 percent of total shipments, 10 to 20 megapixel lenses made up 50 to 60 percent, and lenses with 20 megapixels or more contributed 20 to 30 percent, Largan’s shipment breakdown showed.

The Taichung-based firm — which counts Apple Inc, Sony Corp, Samsung Electronics Inc and Huawei Technologies Co (華為) among its customers — on Jan. 10 said that last month’s revenue would be flat from the previous month amid a slowing smartphone market and declining sales forecast for this month due to seasonal factors, such as the Lunar New Year holiday.

Revenue this quarter would fall to this year’s weakest level at NT$8.85 billion, down nearly 28.88 percent from last quarter’s NT$12.45 billion, Capital Investment Management Corp (群益投顧) analyst Liu Yi-ho (劉宜和) said in a note last month, citing a low season for iPhones and weak shipments of new Android models.

However, analysts expect momentum to recover in the next quarter and beyond, saying that a trend toward triple-camera configurations for higher photography quality would boost demand for Largan’s seven-piece lens products.

“Given the trend toward large-aperture lenses, multi-lens designs have become necessary to increase resolution and reduce image distortion at the edges,” Liu said, adding that inserting another piece of lens into the camera cone requires good control over lens thinning and assembly yield rate, which poses a challenge for companies like Largan.

Largan last year shipped its seven-piece lenses to customers for certification, and is expected to start mass production and shipments in the second half of this year, Liu said.

A growing trend toward full-screen smartphone designs also presents opportunities for the company to stand out among its peers by leveraging its advantages in technology, analysts said.

“Full-screen design, which requires smaller form factors for the front camera, would demand stronger mechanical know-how, and favors Largan’s market share and average selling price,” Maybank Kim Eng Securities Pte Ltd analyst Stefan Chang (張玄志) said in a note last month.

The increasing content value per phone would offset the negative effects of lower handset shipments, Chang said.

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