Advantest Gains After Saying Orders Will Rise 20%: Tokyo Mover

Advantest Corp. President Haruo Matsuno.
Advantest Corp. President Haruo Matsuno. Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg

Advantest Corp., the world’s largest producer of semiconductor-testing devices, rose the most in 10 months in Tokyo trading after saying new orders may rise 20 percent this quarter from the previous three months.

Orders will increase to about 30 billion yen ($364 million) this quarter and reach 70.5 billion yen for the six months ending March 31, or the lower end of the company’s forecast, President Haruo Matsuno said in an interview, challenging a Credit Suisse Group AG report that predicts a decline. The stock jumped as much as 7.9 percent to 1,150 yen, headed for the biggest gain since Jan. 30.

Advantest’s stock rating was cut to underperform last week by Credit Suisse analyst Hideyuki Maekawa, who wrote in a report that the company’s orders will fall this quarter from the previous three months. Maekawa also predicted orders in the fiscal second half will drop below the company’s forecast.

“The shares are being bought back as investors think orders may recover soon,” said Yuichi Ishida, a Tokyo-based analyst at Mizuho Investors Securities Co. “It’ll be important to confirm the recovery in the third and fourth quarters.”

Advantest traded at 1,127 yen as of 12:59 p.m. in Tokyo and has risen 53 percent this year.

Orders will increase amid rising sales of smartphones and tablets and the introduction of smaller-sized, higher-speed DRAM and NAND-type flash memory next year, Matsuno said in a Dec. 7 interview. The company will grab more market share to offset a decline in global demand for semiconductor-testing devices, he said.

‘Brighter Scenario’

Sales of such testing equipment are expected to drop 9.7 percent in 2013 from this year, according to SEMI, an industry group. Sales of chip-manufacturing devices are also forecast to decline 2.1 percent. Advantest held a 49 percent share of the global market for chip-testing devices in 2011, according to research company Gartner Inc.

“As we will increase our share in the market, we don’t expect sales to decline even as the whole market shrinks,” Matsuno said. Consumer sentiment in the U.S., China, Japan and South Korea also may improve next year, he said.

Of the total company sales in the year ended March 31, 29 percent came from Intel Corp. and 12 percent was from Samsung Electronics Co., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The second half of next year may be a “brighter scenario” compared with this year, Matsuno said. The president said the company hasn’t made any changes to its forecasts, adding that he expects sales and profit to rise in the year to 2014.

Advantest targets sales of as much as 160 billion yen this fiscal year, while the profit-to-sales ratio is projected to be as much as 11 percent. Advantest aims for 250 billion yen in sales and more than 20 percent in operating profit-to-sales ratio in the year to March 31, 2015.

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