Gigastorage stays upbeat despite losses

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Mon, Mar 25, 2013 - Page 13

Solar wafer maker Gigastorage Corp (國碩科技) said on Friday its net profit shrank 88 percent despite asset gains that helped offset losses on its core business amid a supply glut and reduced demand, but that it foresaw a strong recovery from this quarter onward.

Net profit plunged to NT$16.75 million (US$560,600), or NT$0.06 per share, last year, compared with NT$139 million, or NT$0.48 per share, in 2011, according to a company statement.

“The firm made another operating loss because of an industry slump ... However, aided by asset gains, Gigastorge was one of the few solar firms that made a profit last year,” the company said in the statement.

Gigastorage did not provide figures for last year.

In 2011, the solar wafer company posted operating losses of NT$659 million and asset gains of NT$871 million.

However, the company said demand was recovering and that its factory was fully utilized and fully booked for this quarter.

“Orders for our high-efficiency solar wafers are particularly strong ... We have received orders exceeding our capacity. We are raising prices to bring gross margin back into positive territory,” it said.

Prices of polysilicon solar wafers increased 1.46 percent to US$0.904 a unit last week from the previous week, according to a survey by Taipei-based market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技).

TrendForce said demand this quarter would primarily come from China as the EU is set to release the results of China anti-dumping and anti-subsidy probes next quarter.

To cope with growing demand from China, the US and Japan, Gigastorage plans to boost production capacity by about 67 percent to 500 megawatts a year, from its current 300 megawatts, the company said.

To finance the capacity expansion, Gigastorage said its board had approved a plan to sell 30 million new common shares via private placement.

The share sale also aims to introduce strategic partners interested in producing high-efficiency solar wafers, the company said.

Gintech Energy Corp (昱晶能源), the nation’s No. 2 solar wafer maker, on Friday posted a bigger loss of NT$1.92 billion for last year, compared with losses of NT$1.59 billion in 2011, according to a company filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Gintech also said its board approved a fund-easing project under which up to 50 million shares would be issued via private placement to fund the company’s operations.

Gigastorage shares fell 0.23 percent to NT$21.4, while Gintech rose 0.56 percent to NT$27.05 on Friday.