Taipei, March 17 (CNA) Shares of Catcher Technology Co. (可成), a Taiwanese metal casing supplier to Apple Inc., gained in Friday morning trade after Catcher reported record high earnings for the fourth quarter of last year, dealers said.
Catcher's strong bottom line heralded a fat cash dividend for 2016, which prompted buying soon after the stock market opened, dealers said.
As of 10:23 a.m., shares of Catcher had gained 4.25 percent, rising to NT$282.00 (US$9.22) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, while the weighted index was up 0.11 percent at 9,848.55.
"Investors simply seized the latest earnings report as a reason to pick up Catcher shares amid optimism toward the metal casing maker's profitability," Xincheng International Investment Consultant analyst Chang Chih-cheng said.
"The stock was outperforming the broader market, although the local main board was in consolidation mode after its rally on Thursday," Chang said.
In a statement released Thursday, Catcher posted NT$9.53 billion in net profit for the October-December period, the highest in the company's history, up 113 percent from the previous quarter and 34.8 percent from a year earlier.
Its consolidated sales for the fourth quarter of last year also hit a record high of NT$24.02 billion, a 15.8 percent increase from the third quarter and 2.3 percent higher than a year earlier, on the back of its clients' launch of new products.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, Catcher's gross margin stood at 50 percent, up 7.4 percentage points from the third quarter, while its operating margin rose 7.3 percentage points to 40.9 percent.
"Catcher's improved bottom line in the fourth quarter reflected not just strong demand for high-tech gadgets, but also huge foreign exchange gains," Chang said.
In the last quarter of 2016, Catcher posted about NT$4 billion in profit from non-core business operations, which came largely from foreign exchange gains as the Taiwan dollar was weak during that period.
For the entire year, Catcher recorded NT$22.02 billion in net profit and an earnings per share of NT$28.58, both the second highest levels after it reported NT$25.12 billion and NT$32.54, respectively, in 2015.
"The company's 2016 EPS has remained high, which has led to anticipation of a high cash dividend to shareholders," Chang said.
In 2016, Catcher's capital expenditure was NT$8.5 billion, and the fourth quarter figure was NT$2.26 billion.
Catcher said Thursday that it planned to invest NT$6 billion in a new company to develop new material and production technology and seek fresh business investments.
Catcher is expected to issue an average bonus of NT$530,000 to each of its 3,600 employees, which will amount to NT$1.908 billion in total.
(By Jeffery Wu and Frances Huang)