Semiconductor equipment maker Hermes Microvision Inc (漢微科) yesterday said it remained upbeat about business this quarter and that its new factory in southern Taiwan would begin production in the fourth quarter next year.
“The company is being recognized as a leader in the e-beam inspection [EBI] equipment sector and we will continue making progress,” chairman Hsu Chin-jung (許金榮) said in a statement.
Hsu made the remarks after the company, which has a more than 85 percent share of the global e-beam inspection equipment market, broke ground for a new factory in the Southern Taiwan Science Park (南部科學園區).
The new factory, which is expected to triple Hermes Microvision’s production capacity to 150 EBI tools a year, should help the company maintain its technological leadership and sustain its growth momentum in the coming years, bucking the negative sentiment in the global semiconductor sector this year.
Given weak global economic growth forecasts, global semiconductor manufacturers have become cautious about their capital spending this year, US market researcher Gartner Inc said in a report on Thursday last week.
Semiconductor companies are expected to spend US$35.8 billion on equipment this year, down 5.5 percent from US$37.8 billion last year and following a decline of 16.1 percent in the previous year, Gartner said.
However, equipment spending is likely to increase 19.1 percent next year and 11.5 percent in 2015, it added.
Hermes Microvision’s EBI tools, used mainly for wafer inspection, has seen growing demand from semiconductor companies amid process technology migration beyond 28 nanometers.
In the first five months of the year, Hermes Microvision’s revenue expanded 23.53 percent to NT$2.1 billion (US$69.7 million) from NT$1.7 billion in the same period last year.
Taishin Securities Investment Advisory Co (台新投顧) analyst Lee Han-shin (李翰興) forecast that Hermes Microvision would see its sales grow 11 percent this quarter from last quarter’s NT$1.21 billion.
The company’s EBI shipments are forecast to increase in the second half from the first half, after its customers — such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co — announced plans to increase their capital expenditure for this year.
In the middle of April, TSMC, the world’s leading contract chipmaker, said it was raising its capital expenditure this year to between US$9.5 billion and US$10 billion, from its earlier budget of US$9 billion to meet demands for advanced technology development, including 20nm process and 16nm FinFET (fin field-effect transistor) process.
In the January-to-March quarter, Hermes Microvision’s net profit expanded 92.8 percent year-on-year and 9 percent quarter-on-quarter to NT$532 million, which translates into earnings per share of NT$8.04.
“We expect the company’s full-year profit to stay at high levels in these two years, with earnings per share of NT$32.5 for this year and NT$48 next year,” Lee said in a note on Wednesday.
Hermes Microvision’s shares closed 0.82 percent higher at NT$860 yesterday on the over-the-counter market.
The stock has risen 61.65 percent to date this year, outperforming the GRETAI Stock Market index, which has increased 12.76 percent over the same period, Taiwan Stock Exchange data showed.