MediaTek Inc (聯發科), the nation’s No. 1 handset chip designer, yesterday posted its strongest monthly revenue in five months as demand for smartphones in China rose ahead of the annual International Workers’ Day holiday next month, boosting the firm’s revenue for last month.
Revenue surged 54.84 percent to NT$9.43 billion (US$314 million) from a 13-month low of NT$6.09 billion in February, hitting its highest level since October last year.
The jump brought first-quarter revenue to NT$23.97 billion, close to the high end of MediaTek’s forecast of between NT$21.9 billion and NT$24 billion.
The figure represents a 10 percent sequential decline from the NT$26.74 billion posted in the previous quarter, which MediaTek attributed to there being fewer working days and seasonally slow demand.
“MediaTek’s first-quarter revenue beat our forecast by 4 percent,” Daiwa Capital Markets analyst Eric Chen (陳慧明) said in a report released yesterday.
Chen had estimated that MediaTek would post NT$22.99 billion in revenue.
“We attribute its slightly better-than-expected posting to [a rebound in] shipments to Chinese smartphone makers from the middle of March,” Chen said.
MediaTek counts Chinese handset makers Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想), Huawei Technology Inc (華為) and ZTE Inc (中興) among its clients.
Chen predicted that the company would ship 38 million units of smartphone chips last quarter, down 15.56 percent from the fourth quarter’s 45 million units, while gross margin might improve to 43 percent, hitting the high end of MediaTek’s forecast of between 41 percent and 43 percent.
He said the company had a good chance of seeing its gross margin rise further, citing a greater contribution from higher-margin quad-core smartphone chips.
MediaTek’s gross margin was 41.5 percent in the final quarter of last year.
Chen estimated that quad-core smartphone chips would account for 15 percent of MediaTek’s overall smartphone chips, higher than the 10 percent forecast by the chipmaker.
Daiwa retained its “buy” rating on MediaTek shares and target price of NT$395, suggesting a 13 percent rise over the next six months from the stock’s closing price of NT$349.5 yesterday.
Separately, Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp (世界先進), which makes driver ICs used in flat panels, yesterday said its revenue grew 17.4 percent last month to NT$1.68 billion from NT$1.43 billion in February, also marking its best performance in five months.
Last month’s figure represented an increase of 53.57 percent from the NT$1.1 billion seen in March last year, the company said in a statement.
In the first quarter, accumulated revenue rose 0.6 percent to NT$4.78 billion from NT$4.75 billion in the preceding quarter. That was a 51.75 percent increase from the NT$3.15 billion posted a year ago.
Meanwhile, Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體), the world’s biggest chip packager, said its revenue grew 18.8 percent month-on-month and 11.6 percent year-on-year to NT$17.15 billion last month.
ASE’s first-quarter revenue fell 8.9 percent sequentially to NT$31.32 billion from NT$34.4 billion the previous quarter. The quarterly contraction was smaller than the 10 percent to 13 percent decline forecast by the company.