MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the nation’s biggest handset chipmaker, expects consolidated sales in the first quarter to fall between 10 percent and 18 percent from the fourth quarter of last year to between NT$21.9 billion (US$740.37 million) and NT$24 billion amid weak demand in the optical drive and feature phone sectors, a company official said yesterday.
The company aims to ship 200 million smartphone chipsets this year, up from 150 million shipments last year, the official added.
“Working days in the first quarter will be lower because of the Lunar New Year holiday, which is likely to be a negative driver for sales,” MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-jiang (謝清江) told an investors’ conference.
MediaTek posted NT$26.74 billion in consolidated sales for the fourth quarter of last year, down 9.3 percent from a quarter earlier, but up 18.1 percent from a year earlier, the company said in a financial statement.
Its net income totaled NT$4.89 billion, or NT$3.7 per share, for the fourth quarter last year, down from NT$4.94 billion, or NT$4.06 per share, in the third quarter, the company said in a statement.
On an annual basis, net income rose 67.5 percent during the October-to-December period from NT$2.92 billion recorded in the same period of the previous year, the statement said.
Gross margin stood at 41.5 percent in the fourth quarter last year, up from 41.2 percent in the previous quarter, the statement’s data showed.
Hsieh attributed the quarter-on-quarter decline in revenue and net profit to weaker-than-expected shipments of smartphones caused by sluggish global economic sentiment and lower seasonal demand.
Concerned about the high costs of quad-core smartphone chipsets, MediaTek said it has cut shipment forecasts for the products to between 30 percent and 40 percent of total shipments by the fourth quarter of this year, from its previous estimate of more than 50 percent.
Barclays Capital analyst Andrew Lu (陸行之) said the downward adjustment is likely to negatively affect average selling prices and the pace of margin recovery in the near future.
MediaTek’s net income last year was NT$15.69 billion, or NT$12.9 per share, up from the NT$13.62 billion, or NT$12.35 per share, recorded in 2011, due to slightly improved margins, which stood at about 42 percent, and higher investment income of between NT$500 million and NT$550 million from MStar Semiconductor Inc (晨星半導體), statistics showed.
The company’s shares rose 0.15 percent to close at NT$325 on the local bourse yesterday, stock exchange data showed.