LED chipmaker Epistar Corp (晶電) is set to profit this year from Apple Inc’s use of mini-LED displays in its new line of products, TF International Securities Group Co (天風國際證券) said in a report yesterday.
The US tech giant is expected to launch 6 products using mini-LED displays by the end of the year — including in its flagship laptop MacBook Pro with a new 14.1-inch model replacing the older 13.3-inch one, as well as in its range of tablets from the iPad mini to the iPad Pro, TF International analyst Kuo Ming-chi (郭明錤) said.
Apple is also expected to launch a new 27-inch iMac Pro equipped with a mini-LED display in the fourth quarter of this year, he said.
The new product launches are estimated to contribute about US$180 million to the sales of LED chip suppliers this year, he added.
Hsinchu-based Epistar would be the first to profit, as the firm’s research and development center and its main production site are located in Taiwan, enabling it to sidestep some of the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak in China, Kuo said.
As the company leverages an advantageous 4-inch wafer production process with design patents from Toyoda Gosei Co Ltd from a previous cross-license agreement, Epistar is forecast to become Apple’s sole supplier in LED chips for its new mini-LED display products, he added.
Epistar has adjusted upward its capital expenditure from an earlier budget of NT$5 billion (US$166.45 million) to NT$6 billion for this year in light of rising orders for mini LED chips, company spokesperson Rider Chang (張世賢) was cited as saying at an investors’ conference last week by the Chinese-language news site Cnyes.com.
The company also plans to increase the utilization rate at its Wuxi plant in China’s Jiangsu Province to increase gross margin, Cnyes.com reported.
Kuo forecast Epistar’s gross margin would improve to between 15 and 25 percent this year, compared with minus-2.7 percent last year, while revenue is forecast to increase between 10 and 20 percent on an annual basis from NT$15.96 billion last year, Kuo said.
Epistar remained in the red last year with net losses of NT$3.94 billion, or losses per share of NT$3.48.
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