GEORGE TOWN: Pentamaster Corp Bhd is seeing buoyant business amid a pick-up in the technology sector.

Group chairman C.B. Chuah told StarBiz the company has already secured orders worth RM200mil for factory automation solutions (FAS) and automated assembly & test equipment (ATE) to be fulfilled for the next two quarters.

“The figure could rise beyond RM200mil, as we have until the end of November to take orders for the final quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, ” he said.

“Some 20% of the orders are for a new business line that produces assembly and test equipment for insulated-gate bipolar transistors (IGBT). The remaining comes from the smartphone and medical device segments, ” he added.

IGBT transistors are used in switching power supplies in high-power applications of electric cars, trains, variable speed refrigerators, lamp ballasts, arc-welding machines and air conditioners.

IGBT is currently the most common device for power electronics, particularly in high voltage, high current applications.

“While the product was invented in the early 1980s, its performance significantly improved after the fourth generation and started to replace older technologies such as thyristor in the early 2000s. IGBT can be applied in a wide range of applications, ” Chuah said.

According to Reportlinker, the global market for IGBTs is projected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 8.3% to US$9.2bil by 2027 from the estimated US$5.2bil in 2020.

Pentamaster factoryPentamaster factory

On the smartphone segment, Chuah said although the contribution was likely to drop to 20% this year from 50% a year ago, the release of new fifth-generation (5G) smartphones would benefit the group.

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“Our new release of testers for 5G smartphones in the second half should arrest the decline of the sales of test equipment for smartphones, ” he explained.

According to the research firm Trendforce, of the forecast 1.24 billion smartphone production this year, 5G handset production is expected to reach 235 million units, and from a penetration rate of 18.9%, it is expected to reach about 75% in 2023.

“Chinese brands are expected to occupy four out of the top six spots of 5G smartphone brands ranked by production volume, ” Chuah said.

According to a Bloomberg report, Apple Inc has asked suppliers to build at least 75 million 5G iPhones in the latter part of this year, roughly in line with last year’s launch, in a sign that demand for the company’s most important product is holding up well in the midst of the global pandemic and recession.

The report also says Apple plans to launch four new models in October with 5G wireless speeds, a different design and a wider choice of screen sizes.

For the six months ended June 2020, Pentamaster saw its net profit fall 13.6% to RM33.8mil from RM39.1mil in the corresponding period last year.

During the period in review, its revenue fell 15.2% to RM203.1mil from RM239.5mil in the six months to June 2019.

It said the tumultuous first half of 2020 due to the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic, which had caused global technology supply chain disruption and global lockdown on cross border travelling, had negatively impacted the group’s operations and revenue.

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The overall lower revenue recorded was due to the drop in sales volume recognised from the ATE segment, which, however, was partially offset by revenue growth from the FAS segment.



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