Largan Precision Co (大立光), a major camera lens supplier to Apple Inc’s iPhones, yesterday said that it expects revenue to dip further next month, dampened by semiconductor supply constraints and fewer working days due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
As order visibility remains low, Largan cannot provide a clear business outlook for March and this quarter, Largan chief executive Adam Lin (林恩平) told an investors’ teleconference.
“It appears that January [revenue] will be weaker than December. February will be even lower due to the Lunar New Year holiday,” Lin said.
Photo: David Chang, EPA-EFE
It is still premature to predict when revenue would return to monthly growth, he said.
“The scarcity of semiconductors remains severe and that spells some problems,” Lin said. “We do not have a clear picture for March.”
Largan attributed the shortage of some semiconductors to lower revenue last month, missing the company’s estimate of no change from November last year.
However, customers remain active in designing new camera lenses for premium smartphones this quarter, the Taichung-based firm said.
It has received as many projects this quarter as in the same period last year, Lin said.
It is uncertain whether those projects would ultimately contribute to revenue, he said.
In the third quarter last year, one of Largan’s customers scrapped its orders for high-end, high-margin camera lenses, dealing a blow to its gross margin last quarter.
Huawei Technologies Co (華為) was widely believed to be the customer after the US imposed a ban on some exports to the Chinese company.
The order loss drove gross margin down to 64.43 percent from 65.65 percent in the previous quarter, the weakest in seven quarters.
Gross margin for all of last year dipped to 66.98 percent, the firm’s lowest since 2015.
Twenty-megapixel lenses accounted for 10 to 20 percent of its overall shipments last quarter, down from 20 to 30 percent in the third quarter last year, the company said.
To fill the capacity void, Largan does not rule out the possibility of producing mid-range lenses for customers at good prices, Lin said.
The company would supply voice coil motors (VCM) on request, as it has been making them for the past five or six years, he said.
The company is reportedly to start supplying VCMs for new iPhones this year.
Net profit tumbled 19.41 percent to NT$6.52 billion (US$229.34 million) last quarter, compared with NT$8.09 billion in the same quarter of 2019, but rose 18.4 percent from NT$5.87 billion in the third quarter last year.
Earnings per share (EPS) dipped to NT$51.83 last quarter from NT$60.32 a year earlier, an increase from NT$43.74 in the prior quarter.
Largan’s net profit last year was NT$24.53 billion, contracting 13 percent from NT$28.26 billion in 2018. EPS fell to NT$182.86 from NT$210.7.
Separately, Largan said that a new plant would become operational in 2023 as scheduled.
POTENTIAL SETBACK: Although Chinese chip designers and foundry firms already have US EDA software, they might be unable to update those programs under new US rules The US’ latest ban on advanced electronic design automation (EDA) software exports to China might hinder Chinese chip companies from accessing advanced semiconductor technology, as they attempt to upgrade to 3-nanometer processes in the next three to five years, market researcher TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) said yesterday. The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security on Friday announced bans on EDA tools for gate-all-around field-effect transistors (GAAFET), a new-generation semiconductor technology that US chipmaker Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co from South Korea are adopting to make 4-nanometer and 3-nanometer chips. The bureau in a statement said that gate-all-around field-effect transistor
WIDENING THE FIELD: Human resources managers must drop prejudices regarding gender, appearance and age to find the best candidates, Micro Technology said The job market for Taiwan’s semiconductor industry remained tight this quarter, as hiring activity slowed from a record high last quarter, a survey released yesterday by online human resource firm 104 Job Bank (104人力銀行) showed. Ongoing labor shortages have prompted local semiconductor firms to recruit more women and foreigners in Taiwan and in Southeast Asia, the job bank said. The talent gap in the first quarter reached 35,000 people per month, a surge of 39.8 percent from the same period last year, as the contactless economy and digital transformation shore up demand for semiconductors, 104 Job Bank said in its annual report
POSITIVE CULTURE: Pursuing 12-inch wafers earlier than peers helped TSMC lead the industry, said a former executive, whose main regret was working for SMIC in China Corporate culture at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) is what made the chipmaker a leading player in the global industry, a former executive said in an interview with California’s Computer History Museum. “One of the really important reasons that TSMC succeeded” is the culture at the firm, where “if equipment went down at two o’clock in the morning, we just called an equipment engineer,” and the worker would not complain, said former TSMC joint chief operating officer Chiang Shan-yi (蔣尚義). “We didn’t really do anything special, anything great, but we didn’t make any major mistakes,” when compared with competitors, such
Cloud computing equipment company Wiwynn Corp (緯穎科技), which counts Meta Platforms Inc as one of its key customers, is boosting capacity expansion in Malaysia through a new investment of about NT$1.94 billion (US$64.7 million), it said yesterday in a statement filed with the Taiwan Stock Exchange. The investment, which aims to help the company with business development and strategic arrangements, would be made through subsidiary Wiwynn Technology Services Malaysia Sdn Bhd to build a new factory, Wiwynn said in the filing. The announcement came about one-and-a-half months after the company started phase II of its new server printed circuit board assembly (PCBA)