April 26, 2018 / 9:53 AM / in a year

UPDATE 1-Besi shares plunge on fears of semiconductor market slowdown

(Recasts, adds shares, analyst and trader comment)

By Stratos Karakasidis

April 26 (Reuters) - BE Semiconductor Industries (Besi) , which sells equipment to chipmakers, reported strong growth in core profit on Thursday, but disappointment about its sales outlook sent its shares down more than 12 percent.

Besi, which supplies chipmakers with semiconductor assembly equipment, said it expected sequential revenue growth of 10-15 percent in the second quarter, with first-half revenue expected to increase by about 17 percent compared with 2017.

“The 2Q18 revenue guidance is below our estimate and well below normal seasonality which suggests that top-line momentum is slowing,” analysts at Degroof Petercam said in a note.

The semiconductor sector has come under pressure after chipmakers AMS and Taiwan Semiconductor warned of slowing demand.

Besi said tech industry analyst VLSI Research had revised down its 2018 semiconductor market growth estimated to 12.5 percent from 18.1 percent.

NIBC analyst Edwin de Jong said: “We have pencilled in 16 percent revenue growth (for Besi) for this year and have to get a feeling whether we should stick to this.”

A Paris-based trader pointed to order bookings as a factor hurting Besi’s shares. The company’s orders were down 14.2 percent in the first quarter year on year

“Not a bright path is rising ahead,” the trader added.

Besi’s first-quarter core profit (EBITDA) rose 52.0 percent year-on-year to 52 million euros, while revenue was up 40.5 percent at 154.9 million euros.

Reporting by Stratos Karakasidis, additional reporting by Alan Charlish. Editing by Jane Merriman

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