Coretronic Corp (中強光電), a manufacturer of LCD backlight modules, yesterday said it plans to boost capital expenditure this year by 10 percent to cope with growing customer demand for TVs.
Coretronic plans to spend NT$1.27 billion (US$44.82 million) to buy new manufacturing equipment, as well as expand its cleanrooms in China and Vietnam, as it expects TV backlight module shipments to grow more than 50 percent this year.
The company, which counts Samsung Electronics Co and Sony Corp as its major clients, said its Vietnamese plant began operation last month and would be running at full capacity later this year.
COVID-19 lockdowns delayed the opening of the new plant, it added.
“We expect to see high volume [demand] for TV [backlight modules] this year. Based on the orders we have received from a major customer, the volume has more than doubled [from last year],” Sarah Lin (林惠姿), president of the company’s energy-saving product division, told a virtual investor conference yesterday.
Along with strong demand for notebook computers, Lin expects shipments of backlight modules for TVs, computers and monitors to grow by 10 to 20 percent this year from last year’s 45.72 million units.
However, Lin said that supply constraints in key components for LCD panels and a tight shipping market would persist through the first half of this year.
On a more positive note, a labor shortage in China has been resolved, she added.
The components and shipping constraints caused shipments to decline 15 percent sequentially to 12.66 million units last quarter, Lin said, adding that shipments are forecast to be flat this quarter.
Energy-saving products contributed about half of the firm’s revenue of NT$42.44 billion last year.
Visual products — including LED lamps and projectors — are forecast to rise by 10 to 20 percent this year, Coretronic said.
Net profit last year surged 35.3 percent to NT$1.56 billion from NT$1.15 billion in 2019, which Coretronic attributed to higher foreign-
exchange gains. That translated into earnings per share of NT$3.95, up from NT$2.65 a year earlier.
Non-operating income soared to 1.15 billion last year from NT$501 million in the previous year, while operating profit dipped 42.4 percent to NT$692 million, as the pandemic slowed demand for consumer electronics.
Gross margin slid to 17.5 percent, from 18.1 percent in 2019.
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