Thu, Dec 05, 2019 - Page 12 News List

Powerchip optimistic on demand for its sensors

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp chairman Frank Huang speaks during a presentation of the company’s “Computing in Memory” integrated technology platform in Taipei yesterday.

Photo: CNA

Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (力積電) yesterday provided an upbeat outlook for next year, citing robust demand for its products.

Strong demand for complimentary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) image sensors for handset cameras has boosted utilization rate at its 12-inch fabs to 100 percent this quarter, which could extend to next quarter, Powerchip said.

DRAM chip demand would recover early next year, it added.

“DRAM [demand] is picking up gradually” from a slump since the second half of this year, Powerchip chairman Frank Huang (黃崇仁) told reporters on the sidelines on a technology forum in Taipei. “The demand for [CMOS image] sensors is also well ahead of what we can supply. All our 12-inch fabs are fully utilized.”

With brisk demand for DRAM chips and CMOS image sensors, the major growth drivers for Powerchip, the company expects to see significant growth in revenue and profit next year, he said.

“At least we can go back to the level we were at a few years ago,” Huang said.

Net profit last year totaled NT$10.69 billion (US$350.4 million), surging about 32 percent from NT$8.08 billion in 2017, with earnings per share rising from NT$3.54 to NT$4.44, company data showed.

In the first three quarters of this year, Powerchip posted net losses of NT$2.69 billion, or losses per share of NT$0.85, as sluggish demand caused a slump in chip prices and excess inventory, the data showed.

Powerchip plans to trade its shares on the Emerging Stock Market next year before moving to the main bourse in 2021 at the earliest, Huang said.

The company yesterday unveiled the world’s first single chip that integrates a microprocessor with a memory chip.

The new single chip is capable of processing data 20 percent faster with 10 percent less power consumption than existing solutions that run two chips, it said.

Powerchip said that it is scheduled to ship the new product in the first quarter of next year for major server makers and Internet companies that operate data centers.

“With this new product, we will run out of our capacity next year,” Huang said, adding that the firm’s core business has already been showing good signs of growth.

Powerchip, previously known as Powerchip Technology Corp (力晶科技), primarily makes CMOS image sensors, DRAM chips and driver ICs used in flat panels for mobile phones for other firms on a contract basis. It operates three 12-inch fabs and two 8-inch fabs in Taiwan, as well as one 12-inch fab in China.

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