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June 22, 2017

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Catcher shares soar on May sales, new iPhone hopes

Shares of Taiwan-based metal casing supplier Catcher Technology Co. (可成) rose sharply Tuesday, outperforming the broader market, after the company reported on Monday an almost 20 percent month-on-month increase in sales for May.

As a supplier to Apple Inc., Catcher has been riding the wave of expectations that the U.S. electronics consumer giant will soon launch next generation iPhones, which would further boost Catcher's shipments in the second half of the year, dealers said.

Shares of Catcher rose 4.42 percent to NT$354.00 (US$11.80) on the Taiwan Stock Exchange on Tuesday, where the weighted index ended down 0.20 percent at 10,206.18 after a lackluster performance on Wall Street overnight.

"Compared with other 'Apple concept stocks,' Catcher has been a laggard," Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said. "Investors simply seized on its latest sales report as a reason for picking up the stock today.

"Also, with the broader market suffering a mild technical correction after the weighted index breached 10,200 points on Monday, investors tended to seek stocks, like Catcher, that delivered positive leads," he said.

Catcher got a boost soon after the market opened from the news of its double-digit sales growth in May, and the momentum was sustained to the end of the session, with buying even picking up late in the trading session.

In a statement released on Monday, Catcher reported an 18.5 percent increase in consolidated sales in May from a month earlier to NT$6.08 billion, the highest monthly figure so far this year. The May sales were also up 3.5 percent from a year earlier.

In the first five months of the year, Catcher's consolidated sales fell 10.3 percent from a year earlier to NT$25.8 billion.

But despite the year-on-year fall in sales for the five-month period, Catcher said it remained upbeat for 2017 as a whole, expecting its sales to grow quarter by quarter for the rest of the year.

"Investors share the upbeat mood, anticipating that Apple's new iPhones will lift Catcher's shipments this year," Su said.

The new-generation iPhones are expected to hit the market in September.

In addition to the Apple hopes, market analysts said Catcher is expected to benefit from the launch of high-end notebook computers by international brands this year, which should further contribute to strong sales growth momentum in the second half of the year.

Meanwhile, Largan Precision Co. (大立光), a supplier of smartphone camera lenses to Apple, reported consolidated sales in May of NT$3.76 billion, up 2 percent from a month earlier and also up 12 percent from a year earlier.

In May, high-end 10 megapixel or more advanced lenses accounted for 70-80 percent of its total sales at a time when international smartphone brands are aggressively upgrading their gadgets.

Largan said sales in June would likely mirror the May figures, but analysts said that starting from July, the manufacturer will enter its traditional peak season and see sales grow at a fast clip.

Shares of Largan fell 1.24 percent to close at NT$4,790.00, in line with the broader market.

"Technically speaking, after a recent strong showing, the stock has entered consolidation mode," Su said.

In the first five months of the year, Largan had consolidated sales of NT$18.24 billion, up 24 percent from a year earlier.

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