Friday, August 10, 2012

Unisem slumps on quarterly loss

Unisem (M) Bhd, Malaysia’s biggest semiconductor assembler by market value, sank to the lowest level in almost seven months in Kuala Lumpur trading after reporting a third straight quarterly loss.

The stock fell as much as 4.8 per cent to RM1.19, its lowest intraday level since Jan. 17, before paring losses to RM1.20 at 10:24 a.m. local time, the second-biggest drop in the FTSE Bursa Malaysia EMAS Index. Unisem had a net loss of RM7.6 million (US$2.5 million) in the second quarter ended June 30, compared with a profit of RM12 million a year earlier, it said in a statement yesterday.

Semiconductor sales have deteriorated in recent months because of the slowing global economies particularly in Europe, Unisem said. Analysts from CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. to RHB Capital Bhd. cut their earnings forecasts for Unisem to reflect weaker earnings prospects.

“We are disappointed with the poor earnings result as we were previously overly optimistic,” Terence Wong, head of research at Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB, wrote in a report today. “Sentiment within the sector has dimmed in recent months due to the uncertainty over the euro-zone crisis.” 

Wong reduced his share-price estimate for the stock to RM1.58 from RM1.87 after slashing profit forecasts by 47 per cent to 68 per cent for fiscal years 2012 to 2014. 

RHB forecast a 2012 net loss of RM2 million for the company, compared with a previous net profit estimate of RM33.4 million. The brokerage reduced its 2013 profit estimate by 38 per cent to reflect lower utilization rates. 
Malaysia’s export growth slowed in June as manufacturers shipped fewer goods to European customers amid the region’s protracted debt crisis. Overseas shipments rose 5.4 per cent from a year earlier after gaining 6.7 per cent in May, according to government data on Aug. 8. 

“After yet another disappointing quarter, earnings visibility remains limited,” Alexander Chia, an RHB analyst, wrote in a report today. “The protracted slowdown in global economic growth and the lack of investment by industry players all point to tepid growth prospects for the sector in the second half of 2012.” - Bloomberg


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