Holtek net profit rises 15% on foreign-exchange gains

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jan 29, 2019 - Page 12

Holtek Semiconductor Inc (盛群半導體), the nation’s largest designer of microcontroller units for consumer electronics, yesterday said its net profit grew about 15 percent annually last year as a spike in foreign-exchange gains helped propel its earnings in the slack October-to-December quarter.

Net profit rose to NT$1.06 billion (US$34.43 million) last year, compared with NT$926.19 million in 2017. That translates into earnings per share of NT$4.7 last year, up from NT$4.1 the previous year.

Last year’s net profit was the highest in the company’s 20-year history, Holtek said.

Non-operating income — primarily foreign-exchange gains — surged to NT$51.94 million last quarter, quadrupling from NT$11.3 million in the third quarter last year, a company financial statement showed.

As a result, the company eked out growth of 0.4 percent in net profit from NT$262.35 million in the third quarter to NT$263.41 million last quarter. On an annual basis, last quarter’s net profit contracted 4.6 percent from NT$276.1 million.

“The company last year registered its fifth consecutive year of revenue growth, bucking the unfavorable [trade] environment,” Holtek spokeswoman Patty Li (李佩縈) said at an investors’ conference.

Li attributed the growth primarily to improved market share in China amid the US-China trade dispute.

“We gained market share in China as foreign chip suppliers retreated. We think the trade war between the US and China is not entirely negative for us,” Li said.

Holtek derived 76 percent of its revenue last year from China, up from 73 percent in 2017, with revenue from China expanding 10 percent last year from a year earlier, outpacing the firm’s overall growth of 5.4 percent to NT$4.86 billion in the same period, Li said.

Holtek expects revenue this year to be flat, as the company hopes its new, higher-margin microcontroller units would offset shipment reductions stemming from the trade tensions in markets outside China, she said.

Holtek plans to ship more-advanced 32-bit microcontroller units to boost shipments of higher-end units used in new smoke detectors, blood-sugar monitors, fingerprint modules and Bluetooth-enabled earpieces for smartphones, Li said.

Holtek has seen signs of improved revenue for this month after it dipped 8.56 percent month-on-month last month, she said, adding that signs are good that the firm would reach its goal of flat revenue for the first quarter from NT$92.32 million a year earlier.

The company might propose a cash dividend of NT$4.7 per common share this year, sticking to its long-term policy of delivering a 100 percent payout ratio, Li said.

The payment would represent a 7.1 percent dividend yield, based on the stock’s closing price of NT$66.2 yesterday.