IC test equipment supplier Scientech posts strong profits

RENEWABLE WAFERS::Rising demand may lure in new entrants, but Scientech says it would continue to lead due to its competitive edge

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Sat, May 11, 2013 - Page 13

Semiconductor testing equipment supplier Scientech Corp (辛耘) yesterday said first-quarter net profit surged 1,138 percent on the back of strong demand for 12-inch renewable wafers used in consumer electronic products.

Net profit in the January-to-March period grew to NT$33.85 million (US$1.14 million), or earnings per share of NT$0.45, from NT$2.74 million during the same period last year, a company statement said.

“As our newly purchased equipment will start operating during the second half of the year to meet strong demand from clients for 12-inch renewable wafers, we remain cautiously optimistic on our annual sales this year,” Scientech CEO Hsu Ming-chi (許明棋) said.

As local technology firms increasingly rely on locally made equipment to cut costs and increase their competitiveness, more companies are likely to enter the field, Hsu said.

However, he believes Scientech, the nation’s only wafer wet-processing and cleaning equipment maker, and also the largest 12-inch test wafer renewing service provider, would continue to lead the market because of the high entry barrier and its competitive edge.

Hsu forecast that Taiwan-made semiconductor testing equipment would grab 16 percent of global market share this year, rising to 18 percent next year and 22 percent in 2015, citing Metal Industry Intelligence’s weekly data.

“The estimates indicate there is high growth potential for Scientech and new local suppliers. We will look for new opportunities more aggressively and expand our corporate scale this year,” Hsu said.

Scientech’s sales during the first four months of the year totaled NT$617 million, up 40 percent year-on-year, driven largely by better-than-expected sales of its 12-inch test wafer renewing service, Hsu said.

The company currently produces 100,000 units of 12-inch renewed test wafers. It expects monthly shipments to rise to 120,000 in the third quarter after capacity expansion.

“As market demand for consumer electronics products continues increasing, complementary demand for 12-inch wafers is also growing at a fast pace, which in turn is driving demand for 12-inch renewed test wafers and benefitting us,” Hsu said.

Scientech closed up 0.7 percent at NT$57.30 yesterday. The stock has dipped 9.2 percent since its initial public offering on March 13, underperforming the TAIEX, which has advanced 3.6 percent.