Macronix posts another quarterly loss

THIRD STRAIGHT LOSS::Chairman Miin Wu said the firm expects to return to profitability in the second half of next year once new products hit the market

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Thu, Oct 25, 2012 - Page 13

Macronix International Co (旺宏電子), which counts Japanese video game console maker Nintendo Co as one of its major clients, yesterday posted a third straight quarterly loss, dragged down by reduced chip prices as well as low utilization at a new advanced factory.

Next quarter would be a even weaker compared with last quarter because of slow seasonal demand, company chairman Miin Wu (吳敏求) told a press conference.

Pricing pressure remains heavy, Wu said.

Prices for NOR flash memory chips, which accounted for 52 percent of the company’s revenue of NT$7.26 billion (US$247.96 million) last quarter, dropped 10 percent last quarter from three months ago, he said.

“This year will be a tough period for Macronix. The business will improve gradually,” Wu said.

“We expect to return to profitability in the second half of next year after new products, such as high-density flash memory chips, hit the market,” he said

The new chips would be made on more cost-effective next-generation technology, he said.

Macronix’s new memory chips used in wireless and automotive sectors would also be growth drivers, Wu said.

NT$3 billion in monthly revenue would be a make-or-break factor for Macronix, he said.

In the July to September period, the company’s net loss improved to NT$1.18 billion, from the NT$1.39 billion loss it made in the second quarter, according to the company’s financial statement.

Macronix eked out net profits of NT$359 million in the third quarter of last year.

Gross margin improved to 11.5 percent last quarter, from 10.9 percent in the second quarter. The company’s data showed its gross margin was 31.2 percent a year ago.

Factory utilization at its new 12-inch factory fell to 50 percent last quarter, bringing the overall equipment usage rate down to 80 percent last quarter from 84 percent in the previous quarter, the company said.

This quarter, factory utilization would be lower than 80 percent, the company said.

Macronix said it plans to spend NT$3.2 billion on new equipment this year.

Expenditures on new equipment would be lower than that figure next year, it added.