Advantech posts record-breaking EPS in 2016

By Christine Chou, The China Post

Global intelligent systems provider Advantech (研華) on Thursday announced earnings per share (EPS) of NT$8.96 for 2016, the highest the firm has seen since going public 18 years ago. The company disclosed its financial results for the past year, with combined revenue seeing year-on-year growth of 10.5 percent to NT$42 billion — lower than their 15 percent growth target. Looking ahead, Advantech said that with this year’s recovering economy and steady growth, the firm expected to reach a double-digit revenue growth target and hit the NT$45 billion mark.

Chief Financial Officer Eric Chen (陳清熙) said last year — in U.S. dollars — the firm’s computer unit generated the most profits, having grown 17 percent year-on-year. Ranked second most profitable was the industrial automation business, which grew 5 percent from the previous year.

Regionally, northeast Asian markets such as Japan and Korea performed best, seeing 19 percent growth from the previous year, followed by China and Europe — which increased by 7 percent and 6 percent year-on-year, Chen said. He stressed that emerging markets would gradually come out of a slowdown and become the main driver for growth in 2017.

CEO Chaney Ho (何春盛) said that while the U.S. economy was moving into positive territory, “many clients have begun to take action” in response to President Donald Trumps new policies encouraging infrastructure investments and calls for manufacturing plants to return to U.S. soil.

“Demand in affected industries is expected to rise in the second half of this year,” Ho said. Chairman Liu Ke-chen (劉克振) said after delving into the internet of things sector for a few years, they recognized immense potential in the concept, but found it difficult to scale due to widely dispersed industries and demands for highly customized and diverse hardware. To address this problem, it has been trying to bring together small and medium-sized businesses, integrating their demands into a “shared” supply chain, Liu said. He said he hoped the platform could break off on its own and become an affiliate company, charging service providers a monthly fees to use their platform.