GEORGE TOWN: Pentamaster Corp Bhd has accumulated about RM45mil worth of orders from its semiconductor test equipment and smart-home automation system business to be delivered in the first half of 2016.
Group executive chairman C.B. Chuah told StarBiz that about RM37mil of the orders were from its smart device customers who needed to use the test equipment to check integrated circuit components.
“The remaining RM8mil comes from the property development companies which require the smart-home automation hardware and software to control the electrical, security and lighting systems of their projects,” he said.
Chuah said that in the fourth quarter of 2015, the group managed to deliver about 85% of the orders from the smart device customers.
“We did not undertake the delivery because the customers deferred the delivery deadline due to the softened semiconductor smart device market,” he added.
Chuah said the first half of 2016 should be good for the group due to the backlogged orders.
“We can expect this quarter one to improve by a double-digit percentage growth over last year’s same period. It will also be a growth over last year’s fourth quarter,” he said.
On its new RM20mil facility in Batu Kawan, Chuah said construction work was scheduled to start in mid-2016 and should be ready for operations by the first quarter of 2017.
“It will be a 90,000-sq-ft plant which will double the production capacity of the existing facility in Bayan Lepas.
“Presently, we have the capacity in Bayan Lepas to produce more than 50 units of semiconductor test equipment every quarter, with the total value ranging between RM20mil and RM30mil.
“When the new plant is ready, the production capacity will be raised to more than 100 units per quarter,” he said.
Chuah said the group’s test equipment and robotic system was now priced between US$100,000 and US$300,000 per unit.
The glove market is another segment that Pentamaster would expand this year.
“For the past two years, the glove packaging and inspection equipment generated about 10% of group revenue. This year, we will drive its contribution to over 20%.
“We are now receiving orders and expecting new orders from surgical glove manufacturing companies based in Thailand, Sri Lanka and Malaysia,” he said.
North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted US$1.34bil in orders worldwide in December 2015 (three-month average basis) and a book-to-bill ratio of 0.99, according to SEMI, the global industry association serving the nano and micro-electronic manufacturing supply chains, comprising 2,000 member companies. A book-to-bill of 0.99 means that US$99 worth of orders were received for every US$100 of product billed for the month.
A book-to-bill ratio of above one indicates more orders being received than filled, showing a strong market where demand outpaces supply. A book-to-bill ratio of below one indicates weaker demand.
According to Taiwanese market research firm Trend Force, the global semiconductor market is expected to show a negative year-on-year growth of 0.6% this year to end up at US$329bil in size.
Another report from IC Insights projects that the DRAM and NAND flash market segments would shrink by 6% and 1.6% from US$46.3bil to US$42bil and from US$32.2bil to US$31.7bil, respectively.