Printed circuit board factories expect better

Printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturers are expecting the second half of 2013 to perform better than the first half of the year, as the worldwide demand for PCBs is forecast to grow to US$60.4bil (RM195bil) in 2013 from US$59bil last year.

N T Information Ltd, a Japan-based research firm, is projecting the growth of PCBs to be at around 3% per annum from 2012 to 2016, reaching US$66.6bil in 2016.

GUH Holdings Bhd managing director Datuk Kenneth H’ng said the group was seeing orders coming in for the third quarter of 2013, compared to a sluggish first and second quarter.

“Manufacturers of consumer electronic products such as LED televisions and refrigerators are placing orders now, as they want to be ready for the Christmas sales period.

“The worldwide spending for consumer electronic products is projected to grow to US$8.5bil in 2013 from US$8.3bil in 2012, according to N T Information,” he added.

According to AT&S AG, the largest PCB maker in Europe and India, the consumer electronic PCB segment would grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 2.6% per annum from 2011 to 2016.

GUH makes PCBs for LED televisions, air-conditioners and refrigerators under Korean and Japanese brands.

“About 60% of the double-sided PCBs and single-sided PCBs produced by GUH are used in audio-visual products.

“We are likely to see a single-digit growth in sales over the first half of 2013,” said H’ng.

But despite the single-digit increase in the second half, the whole of 2013 is expected to be flat, as sales plunged by over 20% in first-quarter 2013, H’ng added.

In first-quarter 2013, the group posted RM44mil in sales, compared to RM59mil in the previous year’s corresponding period.

Qdos Flexcircuits Sdn Bhd, meanwhile, also expects a 5% growth for its flexi-circuits in the second half over the first half of 2013.

Executive director Jeffrey Hwang said the rise in sales could be attributed to the improvement in orders from American and European customers for flexi-circuits.

“Our flexi-circuits are used by US customers in public safety telecommunications products, while the European customers use the flexi-circuits for automotive lighting and audio-visual equipment,” he said.

“Orders coming in for the second half are coming from these sectors,” he said.

Hwang said the group was now increasing its presence in the aerospace, automotive and medical segments, as the flexi-circuit products for these segments are of higher value.

“We are already in these markets, and are looking for more customers in these areas,” he elaborated.

Hwang added that Qdos had filed for two patents related to the cost-effective improvement of its flexi-circuit manufacturing process.

“We should get the patents in 18 months’ time,” he said.

For fiscal year 2013’s fourth quarter ended May 31, Qdos contributed 21% to parent company Suiwah Corp Bhd’s revenue of RM81.8mil.