San Chih’s sapphire ingot facility and equipment went online in fourth-quarter 2010 and began contributing to revenue in November. December’s sales should rise to NT$7m (US$234,000), about 10–15% of overall monthly revenue.
San Chih will have installed 10 furnaces by the end of 2010 and plans to increase this to 15–20 in first-half 2011, bringing monthly capacity to 100,000mm, the firm indicates, adding that the facility could house maximum monthly capacity of 400,000mm when all production lines are online in first-quarter 2012.
San Chih mainly manufactures 2-, 4- and 5-inch semiconductor wafers, but it has also entered volume production of 6-inch wafers and is currently evaluating opportunities for producing 8-inch wafers. The firm forecasts revenue growth higher than the industry average for 2011 since fabs in Europe and the USA are outsourcing small- to medium-size wafer business as they place more emphasis on the large-diameter segment.
However, due to the higher margin of sapphire ingot business, San Chih’s earnings per share (EPS) is expected to rise from NT$7–8 in 2010 to NT$12 in 2011, analysts note.