Boon for sensor makers, equipment testers

According to market statistics, Globetronics Technology Bhd led the pack with the stock falling some 16%, or 85 sen, at its close.

GEORGE TOWN: The iPhone, Apple’s iconic smart mobile device, is celebrating its 10th anniversary next year and the market is expecting the company to come up with a strong line of new premium devices.

Other manufacturers too are coming up with smarter products to capture a stronger market share.

All these upcoming products will require new high-tech components such as sensors and microchips. These components will also need to be tested.

Globetronics chief executive officer Datuk Heng Huck Lee said if the orders for the volume of sensors happened according to projections, the company’s capital expenditure for expansion would increase to RM70mil for 2017.

“We will spend for our expansion starting January 2017, as the year would see the smart device manufacturers releasing fresh models of mobile and wearable devices with innovative sensing and security features,” he said.

Globetronics expects to double the quantity of its sensor monthly shipment starting mid-2017.

“The three new sensors for next year are now undergoing qualification. Baring any unforeseen surprises, we are ready to commence mass production by the end of second quarter 2017,” he said.

These new sensors, Heng said, would help the company achieve “significant” improvement in its financial performance in 2017.

“We are excited that these sensors will enable the smart device customers to achieve much better display and security features and performance.

“We expect significant improvement in our performance for 2017,” Heng said.

According to a recent AllianceDBS Research report, the earnings visibility of Globetronics has improved with clearer signs supporting the strong earnings recovery in the 2017 financial year from new sensor products.

“This is also underpinned by the recent acquisition of Heptagon (Globetronics’ sensor customer headquartered in Singapore) by AMS AG, where details revealed by AMS are pointing towards substantial revenue growth for Heptagon starting mid-2017,” it added.

Meanwhile, MMS Ventures Bhd managing director T.K. Sia said the company has secured about RM9mil worth of orders for test equipment for the first quarter 2017.

“About 70% of the testers would be used in the smart device and automotive industries.

“The remaining 30% are for checking the led modules and integrated circuits used respectively in the general lighting and semiconductor sectors.

“We are still getting orders coming in,” Sia said.

Sia said the first quarter was traditionally a softer period.

“This is because many of the testers and sensors had already been delivered in the third quarter of 2016 to be used in the smart devices,” Sia said.

Elsoft Research Bhd chief executive officer C.E. Tan said the company would supply 85% of testers for the smart device and automotive industries in the first quarter of 2017.

“The remaining 15% would be used in the general lighting sector. The growth in orders would continue to the second quarter,” Tan added.

According to a World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) report, the semiconductor sales in 2016 would be roughly flat, followed by slight market growth in 2017 and 2018.

WSTS has forecast a 3.3% growth globally for 2017 (US$346.1bil in total sales) and 2.3% expansion for 2018 (US$354bil).

WSTS tabulates the semi-annual industry forecast by convening an extensive group of global semiconductor companies that provide accurate and timely indicators of semiconductor trends.

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