Shares of E Ink Holdings Co (元太科技) yesterday rallied to an almost four-year high on speculation that Apple Inc might introduce a dual screen in its next iPhone model using E Ink’s energy-efficient e-paper displays.
The stock price of E Ink surged 3.62 percent to NT$24.35 yesterday, retreating from an early gain of 5.53 percent. The closing price was the highest since Nov. 2, 2012. Turnover was the largest in a month at 34.74 million shares.
The stock outperformed the TPEX, which fell 0.5 percent yesterday.
E Ink supplies e-paper displays primarily to e-reader vendors such as Sony Corp and Amazon.com.
The rally in E Ink’s stock price was prompted by a report by the Economic Daily News that Apple has requested E Ink to send products for sampling and certification after Yota Devices’ dual-screen YotaPhone 2 impressed the US consumer electronics giant.
“We are aggressively exploring business opportunities to use our e-paper displays as secondary screens on mobile phones,” an E Ink public relations official said by telephone yesterday.
The official declined to comment on information on any single customer.
China’s Siswoo earlier this year also unveiled a dual-screen phone, the R9 Darkmoon, equipped with a standard smartphone display and a secondary screen on the back. The secondary screen is a 4.7-inch grayscale e-paper display produced by E Ink, which is energy-saving and can handle texts, e-mails and other functions.
In a separate statement, E Ink said it plans to streamline the operations of a less advanced 2.5-generation LCD factory in Hsinchu, which is a further move to exit the volatile LCD market.
Earlier this year, E Ink shut down its South Korean LCD manufacturing subsidiary Hydis Technologies Co Ltd in an effort to stem losses from LCD panels.
E Ink plans to transform the 2.5-generation production line into a research and development line for developing new e-paper displays, the company said.
About 70 percent, or 190 out of 286 employees working at the plant would be affected by the adjustment, E Ink said.
The company would pay higher severance fees for those employees affected than stipulated by the Labor Standards Act (勞基法) and it will also help them find new jobs.
E Ink generates about 70 percent of its revenue from selling e-paper displays used in e-books, which delivers a higher gross margin than LCD panels, the company said.
E-paper displays for luggage tags, supermarket goods shelves, wearable devices, phones and LCD panels make up the remaining 30 percent, the company said.
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