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Cirtek may bid for 2 overseas firms to support expansion

Cirtek may bid for 2 overseas firms to support expansion

Laguna-based semiconductor manufacturer Cirtek Holdings Philippines Corp. is considering bidding for electronics companies in China and Malaysia in line with its expansion plans following its stock market debut late last year.

Cirtek is likewise planning to boost its Philippine capacity by forming a joint venture (JV) with a Japanese electronics firm, a prospective tie-up that will open up the Japanese market for the company, Cirtek chief finance officer Anthony Buyawe said in an interview with the Inquirer last week.

The top officials of this large Japanese company are visiting Cirtek in Laguna soon to discuss the potential partnership for the establishment of a new manufacturing plant that will be 51-percent owned by Cirtek, Buyawe said.

The new facility will later be consolidated into the company’s balance sheet.

“The plan was already raised in one of our meetings,” he said, adding that Cirtek was hopeful that a deal would be firmed up soon.

He said it was possible that the new plant would be located near Cirtek’s existing plant in Laguna.

“The beauty about the PEZA [Philippine Economic Zone Authority] is that it is run very professionally. The locator will appreciate how simple the process is,” Buyawe said.

One year after a great earthquake hit Japan, Buyawe said Cirtek’s prospective Japanese partner realized how its value chain could easily be disrupted without back-up offshore operations. On the part of Cirtek, he said the tie-up could be its ticket to gain a foothold in the Japanese market.

“They have already done JVs in other countries so it’s not something new to them, so we are hopeful. Their bosses won’t bother to come here if they are not serious,” Buyawe said.

Cirtek is also looking to acquire offshore manufacturing plants to expand its clientele base and minimize the risk of disruption in its production if and when disasters strike.

“It also offers redundancy to us in case something happens in the Philippines,” he said.

The prospective acquisitions in China and Malaysia could boost Cirtek’s business. The plan is to submit a letter of intent and join a competitive tender in the first quarter of the year. “But we’ll bid for what we feel the value is, not just to beat the competition,” Buyawe said. The negotiations are in their early stages, he said.

The opportunity in China is interesting given the large market offered by the mainland and its clientele base in the US and China that could complement Cirtek’s own, the official said. At the same time, he said Cirtek was interested in this Chinese firm’s advanced technology. The electronics firm in China is owned by a fund that is now keen on exiting, thereby putting its stake on the block.

Meanwhile, he said the target in Malaysia was a semiconductor factory owned by an operator like Cirtek. This company is likewise about Cirtek’s size and had very little debt, he said.

If these expansion opportunities push through, Buyawe said Cirtek would have room to finance them through either additional borrowing or sale of shares. “We don’t have any debt in our balance sheet so we can use either debt or equity. We’ll raise debt as well and maybe we can do a secondary offering,” he said.

Cirtek is an independent complete solution provider for subcontract manufacturing of semiconductor devices with 25 years of experience in the assembly and testing segment. It provides turnkey solutions that include package design and development, wafer probing, wafer back grinding, assembly and packaging, final testing of semiconductor devices, and delivery and shipment to its customers’ end users. It listed on the Philippine Stock Exchange in November last year under the ticker “CHIPS.”


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