DRAM makers forecast strong earnings in the second half
Taipei, July 19, 2000 (CENS)-- Taiwan's dynamic random access memory (DRAM) makers forecast their net profit margins to rise 50% to 70% in the second half this year from the current 30% to 40% due to surging contract prices for 64Mb DRAM and extensive use of the profitable 0.18-micron technology.
The projections were made by the top producers in the line here, including Winbond Electronics Corp., Mosel Vitelic Inc., ProMos Technologies Inc., PowerChip Semiconductor Corp., and Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp.
Most of the chipmakers have hiked the contract prices of 64Mb DRAM by 6% to 7%, to US$7.5 to US$8.2 a chip. Some memory-module manufacturers, they claim, are charging up to US$8.2 to US$8.3 a chip. The chipmakers say that the price hikes will become more apparent soon.
Weak spot prices for DRAM pushed the share prices of Winbond, Mosel Vitelic, ProMos, Vanguard, PowerChip, and DRAM designer Etron Technology Inc. lower on July 18 and 19. However, the companies say that their second-quarter performance is better than first-quarter. They estimate revenue to reach successive monthly highs into the near future.
Analysts expect Winbond to report earnings of NT$2 billion (US$64.51 million at US$1:NT$31) in the first quarter and NT$4 billion (US$129.03 million) in the second quarter. Mosel Vitelic is estimated to have earnings of NT$2.5 billion to NT$3 billion (US$80.64 million to US$96.77 million) in the first half.
Vanguard reported a loss in first quarter, but began turning profitable in the second quarter. The company is estimated to make a profit of NT$700 million to NT$800 million (US$22.58 million to US$25.8 million) in the first half.
PowerChip reported earnings of NT$430 million (US$13.87 million) in the first quarter and expects earnings to reach NT$1 billion (US$32.25 million) in the second half.
The profitability of DRAM makers here generally increases as the gap between contract and spot prices narrows.
Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea reportedly posted revenue of 3.7 trillion won (US$3.32 billion at US$1:1,113.6 won) from its DRAM business in the first half, and 14 trillion won (US$12.57 billion) overall, representing 44% of the company's goal for this year.
Taiwan's DRAM makers note that world DRAM demand has so far be on a par with the supply, but it will soon exceed output.
The use of the advanced 0.18-micron technology, they add, has boosted net profit margins to about 70%, compared with the 50% from production using 0.2-micron technology.
Local market analysts estimate that the monthly revenue of Winbond and ProMos will top NT$6 billion (US$193.54 million) and NT$4 billion (US$129.03 million), respectively, in the fourth quarter. They forecast is based on expectations of surging demand.
Dataquest Inc. and International Data Corp. of the United States and the Industrial Technology Information Service of Taiwan predict that the demand for DRAM will expand sharply with the explosive popularity of sub-US$1,000 personal computers, Internet-access devices, new-generation chipsets, and microprocessors. Personal computers in the US$1,000-plus category have been the major DRAM users, absorbing 2.45 billion 64Mb DRAM chips in 1999, or around 75% of world output. The figure is forecast to jump to four billion chips this year and 17.6 billion chips in 2003.
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