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BenQ Materials expands production capacity for Li-ion battery separator films

Rebecca Kuo, Tainan; Adam Hwang, DIGITIMES Asia 0

BenQ Materials chairman Chen Chien-chi Credit: DIGITIMES

Polarizer maker BenQ Materials is expanding production capacity for separator films used in EV Li-ion batteries at its factory in central China, with completion scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2022, according to company president Ray Liu.

Through the expansion, the annual production capacity at the factory will increase to 100 million square meters, Liu said.

Besides, BenQ Materials is in preparation of expanding separator film production capacity at its factory in central Taiwan, with the additional capacity to come into operation in the second quarter of 2024, Liu noted. Then, the total annual production capacity in Taiwan and China will reach 170 million square meters, Liu added.

BenQ Materials began to ship separator films to a Japan-based automaker in 2021, and has tapped the Thailand and China markets. In the process of obtaining certifications from a second Japan-based automaker, BenQ Materials expects to finish the certification process by the end of 2022 and start trial production in the first quarter of 2023. In addition, BenQ Materials will be in process of obtaining certification from a third Japan-based automaker later in the second half of 2022.

For separator films, BenQ Materials has cooperated with Taiwanese battery cell makers and is in talks with potential clients based in China, Japan and South Korea.

While BenQ Materials adopts dry manufacturing process to produce separator films, the company has been developing technology of wet manufacturing process and the materials related.

Shipments of separator films were impacted by shortage of automotive semiconductor components and COVID-19 lockdown in some Chinese cities in the second quarter of 2022, but are expected to rebound in the third quarter along with increasing sales of new cars, company chairman Chen Chien-chi said.

Currently, polarizers take up 75-80% of consolidated revenues and about 85% of the corresponding production capacity is utilized, Chen noted.

Mainly due to shrinking global demand for consumer electronics and IT products, demand for panels has significantly decreased and the situation is likely to remain until the fourth quarter of 2022, Chen indicated. As a result, BenQ Materials is put under immense pressure by polarizer shipment and price in the second half of 2022, Chen noted, adding that BenQ Materials has been in cooperation with clients to develop high value-added polarizers.

BenQ Materials keeps diversifying product lines to decrease the revenue proportion for polarizers, with the proportion expected to fall to below 75% at the end of 2022, Chen said.

BenQ Materials has reported consolidated revenues of NT$1.272 billion (US$42.7 million) for July, slipping 6.18% on month and 6.10% on year, and those of NT$9.548 billion for January-July, dipping 1.71% on year.

BenQ Materials: Financial report, 2Q22 (NT$m)

Amount

Q/Q

Y/Y

1H22 amount

Y/Y

Consolidated revenues

4,112

(1.25%)

(3.99%)

8,276

(0.99%)

Gross margin

20.55%

up 2.42pp

up 1.10pp

19.33%

up 2.06pp

Operating profit

245

18.93%

(22.22%)

451

(2.80%)

Net profit

262

(10.58%)

(4.73%)

555

25.85%

Net EPS (NT$)

0.82

1.73

Source: Company, compiled by Digitimes, August 2022

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