St Shine Optical Co Ltd (精華光學), the nation’s biggest contact lens maker, last week announced it would distribute a record high dividend on strong earnings recorded last year, but a foreign brokerage gave a reserved outlook for this year due to a lack of growth catalysts.
Shares in the maker of Ticon (帝康) brand contact lenses on Friday rallied for the second consecutive session in Taipei trading after the company reported a day earlier that its earnings had peaked in the final quarter of last year.
St Shine on Thursday reported that its net income for the final quarter of last year rose 18.1 percent annually to NT$484 million (US$15.9 million).
The company said the earnings gain last quarter was driven by a surge in rush orders.
To address the rising orders, the company expanded its production lines by one to 57 in the October-to-December quarter last year, it said.
Overall, the company’s total annual output increased 9 percent to 720 million units last year from the previous year.
Total revenue also increased 10.21 percent to NT$6.46 billion, while net income grew 22.09 percent to NT$1.78 billion for the whole of last year, with earnings per share of NT$35.26, the company said.
Buoyed by its solid financial performance, St Shine said its board on Thursday proposed to distribute a cash dividend of NT$27 per share, which would be one of the highest among the nation’s publicly traded companies.
The proposed dividend translates into a yield of 4.23 percent based on the company’s closing stock price of NT$638 on the Taipei Exchange on Friday.
The stock has gained 3.74 percent so far this year, Taiwan Stock Exchange’s data showed.
However, Daiwa Capital Markets Inc said in a client note that it was cautious about St Shine’s outlook this year.
In a note issued on Thursday, Daiwa said St Shine would face lingering margin pressure and capacity constraints this year, as only a portion of the 12 additional production lines are expected to enter mass production toward the end of this year or next year.
In addition, foreign-exchange risks could also affect St Shine’s sales in Japan, which made up 70 percent of the company’s total sales last year, the note said.
If the yen weakens further against the US dollar, St Shine could be compelled to extend discounts to its clients in Japan, leading to a decline in margins, Daiwa said.
The company’s gross margin last quarter slipped from 43 percent to 42.3 percent and operating margin fell to 32.4 percent from 36.6 percent, due to price cuts by its Japanese clients in November last year and higher commission expenses, Daiwa said.
For the whole of last year, St Shine reported gross margin of 42.68 percent and operating margin of 34.81 percent, compared with 36.91 percent and 28.43 percent respectively a year earlier.
UNCONVINCING: The US Congress questioned whether the company’s Chinese owners pose a national security risk and how the app might influence young users TikTok chief executive officer Shou Chew (周受資), confronted with an unforgiving, distrustful US Congress, tried to give answers in his testimony on Thursday that avoided offending either the US government or China. However, his evasiveness left Congress unsatisfied, with representatives hungrier than ever to punish TikTok for ties to its parent company ByteDance Ltd (字節跳動), based in Beijing. He did not bring his company any closer to a resolution. Politically, TikTok is in a tougher spot. Its executives had been discussing divesting from ByteDance to resolve US national security concerns, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg. However, China this week said
Sanofi SA’s drug Dupixent succeeded in a late-stage trial for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), raising the odds that the blockbuster would be the first biologic medicine cleared to treat the lung disorder. Dupixent, which is already prescribed for asthma and some skin conditions, showed a 30 percent reduction in the rate at which patients’ COPD worsened compared with those who received a placebo during the stage-three Boreas trial, the company said in a statement yesterday. The positive data could herald a new era of cutting-edge treatments for the life-threatening respiratory affliction and provide another major boost in demand for the French
SEMICONDUCTOR EQUIPMENT: The international trade group said the sector would recover from a slump, with spending expected to rise 4.2 percent to US$24.9 billion Taiwan is to retain its position as the top spender on semiconductor front-end equipment and facilities next year, with spending expected to increase 4.2 percent year-on-year to US$24.9 billion, international trade group SEMI said yesterday. The spending forecast matches an expected recovery in global semiconductor equipment and facilities investment next year, it said. International equipment spending is to return to growth next year, SEMI said in a report, forecasting 21 percent growth to US$92 billion. The expansion would manly be driven by robust demand for semiconductors in the automotive and high-performance computing segments, the association said. “This quarter’s SEMI World Fab Forecast update
Three years after Luxembourg declared all public transport free in a bid to clear its roads of jams and cut pollution, the car is still king of the congested grand duchy. Traffic permitting, it is barely an hour’s drive from Weiswampach in the far north of Luxembourg near the German and Belgian borders to Dudelange in the south, next door to France. The wealthy country of just 650,000 people appeared the perfect place for a bold experiment — making public transport on trains, trams and buses free nationwide. However, Luxembourg, despite its lack of long-distance highways, has one of the highest rates