Revenue, profit to rise: Wistron

EXTENDING GROWTH::The chairman expressed confidence that last year’s growth would continue, following a 31.22 percent surge in net income to NT$3.88 billion

By Lauly Li  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Mar 14, 2018 - Page 12

Wistron Corp (緯創), one of Apple Inc’s iPhone assemblers, yesterday forecast that revenue and profit would continue to expand this year on robust demand for smartphones and data centers, after reporting that last quarter’s net profit was its highest in the past 18 quarters.

“We faced a very difficult time from 2014 to 2016. Last year was the first to see top-line and bottom-line growth in the past few years,” Wistron chairman Simon Lin (林憲銘) told a teleconference.

“We are confident that the momentum will extend to this year,” he said.

Wistron began assembling iPhones at the end of 2016. It shares orders of the larger 5.5-inch Plus model with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密).

The iPhone business is categorized under Wistron’s smart devices segment, the revenue contribution of which it declined to disclose.

Wistron passed the learning curve of a smart device client’s handset during last year’s October-to-December quarter, which is to benefit gross margin and operating margin of the business this year, Lin said.

The firm’s server and storage business, which contributed 14 percent of the firm’s total revenue last year, is expected to deliver better margin performance and revenue growth this year because of growing demand from clients for data centers, he said.

Wistron’s notebook computer business, which accounted for 29 percent of its total sales last year, is this year forecast to maintain similar shipments and margin performance from last year, supported by the company’s improving operational efficiency and production quality, he added.

Wistron reported a 10.55 percent annual increase and 74.51 percent quarterly expansion in net profit to NT$1.6 billion (US$54.7 million) for last quarter.

That brought the iPhone assembler’s combined net income for last year to NT$3.88 billion, surging 31.22 percent from NT$2.96 billion a year earlier, company data showed.

Gross margin last year dropped 1.02 percentage points annually to 3.78 percent, while operating margin fell 0.2 percentage points year-on-year to 0.71 percent, which Wistron attributed to a different business model and product portfolio from a year earlier.

Wistron reported that combined revenue last year surged 26.7 percent annually from NT$659.91 billion to NT$836.08 billion.

Sales in the first two months of this year ballooned 40.97 percent year-on-year to NT$146.76 billion, the data showed.

Wistron’s board has approved a dividend distribution plan to shareholders, which includes a cash dividend of NT$1.2 and a stock dividend of NT$0.30 per common share based on last year’s earnings per share of NT$1.48.