Holtek Semiconductor Inc (盛群半導體), the nation’s largest designer of microcontroller units for consumer electronics, yesterday said its net profit shrank 15.4 percent year-on-year last quarter, as a US-China trade dispute dampened customer demand.
Net profit dropped to NT$221.87 million (US$7.26 million), compared with NT$262.35 million a year earlier, while earnings per share (EPS) slid to NT$0.98 from NT$1.16, the company said.
On a quarterly basis, net profit fell 12.9 percent from NT$254.87 million, or EPS of NT$1.13.
Gross margin improved to 50.7 percent last quarter from 49.4 percent a year earlier and 49.3 percent a quarter earlier.
Holtek attributed the improvement to inventory reductions.
“Customers were cautious about ordering in the third quarter due to the US-China trade tensions. Besides, they were going through an inventory adjustment period,” Holtek spokesman Armstrong Tsai (蔡榮宗) told an investors’ conference in Taipei.
The business outlook for this quarter is “clearer,” with demand recovering for microcontroller units used in brushless DC motors, which are mostly used in air purifiers, robot vacuum cleaners and fans, Tsai said.
Order visibility has also improved gradually, as year-end holiday shopping began to kick in with China’s national holidays earlier this month, he said.
China is Holtek’s biggest market, comprising 75 percent, or NT$1.12 billion, of the company’s total revenue last quarter.
Holtek expects revenue for this quarter to grow by a single-digit percentage from last quarter, due to a seasonal increase in demand, the Central News Agency reported yesterday.
Yet the firm was conservative about whether there would be annual growth in revenue this year, the report said.
Commenting on its new products, Holtek said it plans to ship more than 10 million microcontroller units for brushless DC motors this year, as well as 5 million microcontroller units for true wireless stereo earphones.
The company is especially optimistic about growth in sales of microcontroller units used in healthcare and security devices, such as blood glucose meters, blood pressure meters, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, Tsai said.
In the first nine months, sales of microcontroller units for healthcare and security devices contributed to 13 percent and 8 percent of revenue respectively, compared with 11 percent and 6 percent in the same period last year, Holtek said.
During the same period, home appliance microcontroller units remained the company’s biggest source of revenue, contributing 41 percent.
Shipments of microcontroller units sank 7 percent year-on-year to 470 million units in the first three quarters of the year, Holtek said.