Largan Precision Co (大立光) and Catcher Technology Co (可成) on Saturday reported rising revenue for last month from March, after most companies in the handset components sector reported weak first-quarter results amid the sluggish global smartphone market.
As leading suppliers in the global handset supply chain, the two companies’ revenue streams are closely monitored by market watchers to determine whether the smartphone market will follow expectations and show a recovery this quarter, or deteriorate faster than expected.
Handset camera lens maker Largan reported better-than-expected revenue for last month on the back of a continued improvement in yield rates and favorable product trends.
The Taichung-based company saw consolidated revenue reach NT$3.47 billion (US$116.8 million) last month, up 10.34 percent from the previous month.
Last month’s sales were still 6.02 percent lower than a year earlier, according to figures that Largan posted on its Web site on Saturday.
In the first four months of this year, consolidated revenue totaled NT$12.34 billion, down 14.84 percent from NT$14.5 billion during the same period last year.
The bright spot is that higher-priced lenses for cameras of 10 or more megapixels still made up a larger portion of shipments, accounting for 70 to 80 percent of the company’s overall shipments last month, while 8-megapixel products accounted for 10 to 20 percent and the 5-megapixel line contributed up to 10 percent, the company said.
Largan — whose customers include Apple Inc and several Android smartphone vendors — last month said it was upbeat about sales for this month and next month, compared with NT$3.14 billion in March, given the company’s efforts to improve production yield rates.
With potential strong demand for OLED iPhones in the second half of the year and the emerging adoption of triple-camera lenses by some handset vendors, as well as resilient prices and gross margin of the company’s products, Largan could see a year-on-year recovery in sales and operating profit from this month, Yuanta Securities Investment Consulting Co (元大投顧) analyst Jeff Pu (蒲得宇) said in a note on Wednesday last week.
Pu said Huawei Technologies Co (華為) is expected to drive triple-camera lens adoption by introducing a lower-spec device for the Mate 20 model, while Apple is likely to launch a new iPhone model with a triple-lens rear camera in the second half of next year.
Assuming that other vendors would follow suit and therefore boost adoption of the triple-lens design, it could “provide a much-needed improvement in Largan’s capacity utilization rate,” Pu said.
Meanwhile, casing maker Catcher posted revenue of NT$6.6 billion for last month, a surge of 1.3 percent from the previous month and up 28.54 percent from the same period a year earlier.
Cumulative revenue in the first four months totaled NT$27.01 billion, a 36.99 percent annual increase from NT$19.72 billion, the Tainan-based company said.
Catcher also released its audited first-quarter results, which showed that net profit increased 75 percent year-on-year to NT$3.66 billion, the company’s highest level for the same period, with earnings per share of NT$4.75.
However, gross margin declined to 41.75 percent and operating margin to 32.6 percent, both the lowest levels since the second quarter of 2016, company data showed.
Earnings per share in the first quarter came lower than KGI Securities Investment Advisory Co’s (凱基投顧) estimate of NT$5.27 and a market consensus forecast of NT$6.7.
Analysts said ahead of the data release that Catcher’s sales would be particularly strong in the second half of this year, closely aligned with customers’ scheduled launches of new products.
“The company’s sales in the first quarter were affected by weak iPhone demand and sales in the second quarter could be affected by the delayed launch of a new MacBook Air model,” KGI researchers led by Angela Hsiang (向子慧) said in a note on Monday last week.
KGI predicted that sales in the second half would be 65 percent higher than in the first half, and that profit in the second half would grow 124 percent from the previous half.
Overall, Catcher is likely to maintain its lead over metal casing peers in terms of profitability this year, thanks to its highly automated production lines and in-house development of cutters, tooling, fixture and feeder parts, which would allow the company to enjoy lower manufacturing costs, while having the capability to rapidly increase short-term production with a high yield and efficiency rate, KGI said.
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
The Investment Commission yesterday approved a Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) application to invest an additional US$3.5 billion in its Arizona subsidiary to manufactured advanced chips. The world’s largest contract chipmaker’s board of directors last month approved the funding project after TSMC started moving manufacturing equipment into the fab in December last year in preparation for the production of 4-nanometer chips next year. TSMC said it has also commenced the second phase of facility construction in Arizona. The second fab is to produce semiconductors using 3-nanometer technology in 2026. Altogether, TSMC plans to spend US$40 billion on the Arizona fabs, doubling its
KEY SECTOR: Taiwan’s new chip legislation is insufficient, and a more strategic ‘chip act’ that covers the whole semiconductor ecosystem is needed, MediaTek’s chairman said MediaTek Inc (聯發科) chairman Rick Tsai (蔡明介) yesterday urged the government to formulate a state semiconductor strategy and comprehensive “chip act” that includes local chip designers and smaller-scale semiconductor companies, as they are facing intensifying competition from China. The government is playing an increasingly important role in safeguarding the local semiconductor industry’s competitiveness, given that the US, the EU and Japan are offering hefty subsidies and significant tax incentives to build semiconductor capacity domestically, as they have realized the strategic importance of semiconductors, Tsai said. To implement such a program, the government should take steps to finance a “chip act,” Tsai said
Microsoft Corp has threatened to cut off access to its Internet search data, which it licenses to rival search engines, if they do not stop using it as the basis for their own artificial intelligence (AI) chat products, people familiar with the dispute have said. The software maker licenses the data in its Bing search index — a map of the Internet that can be quickly scanned in real time — to other companies that offer Web search, such as Apollo Global Management Inc’s Yahoo and DuckDuckGo. Last month, Microsoft integrated a cousin of ChatGPT, OpenAI’s AI-powered chat technology, into Bing. Rivals