The CEO of fab equipment maker APTC said in a letter to shareholders that the company will give it its all to grow amid signs of the global chip industry is seemingly in the road to recovery.
APTC CEO Choi Woo-hyung’s 60 pages long letter is the company’s first under the CEO's name.
The letter detailed the company’s financial and sales status, development statuses of technologies, and its shareholder return policy.
The gist of the letter is that ATPC expects its annual earning this year to drop from 2022 due to customers reducing their spending.
The company’s first-quarter revenue dropped 85% from the previous year and its profits turn to the red.
Sources said the company likely lost substantial cash starting last year as customers canceled the orders they have already placed after APTC already bought components to make the equipment they ordered.
As of early 2022, APTC had around 100 billion won in cash with no debt.
In his letter, Choi explained that the company needed additional operating funds for the payments for the components.
It procured outside funding in early November of last year for this, the CEO said. Choi is referring to the 22 billion won it secured from B&W through a share offer.
Because of this, APTC couldn’t pass a shareholder dividend plan earlier this year during its annual shareholders' meeting, the CEO said and apologized to shareholders. He explained that there was also a salary cut for executives and employees.
Choi said that the company will offer high dividends as before once its earnings improve.
APTC was supplying two models of poly etchers and one model of metal etcher to a customer, he said.
A new poly equipment has been developed and is expected to be evaluated by a customer later this year, the CEO also said.
APTC was also developing an oxide etcher with a completely new technology and will work to bring meaningful results through the equipment next year, he added. The company was also working to win new customers abroad, Choi said.
Meanwhile, the CEO also mentioned lawsuits filed by ex-CEO Kim Nam-hun, saying they amounted to “obstruction of business”. Choi didn’t refer to Kim by name in the letter but called in a “large shareholder operating a competing company.”
Kim founded a rival company called Nyse Plasma on June 26 2021. This company also makes etchers.
Kim has filed lawsuits requesting access to APTC’s accounting records and minutes of the board.
The court had rejected his request to gain access to the board, saying it was sensitive information that he could use for Nyse Plasma to have an advantage over APTC.
Choi said APTC has filed a criminal complaint against Kim for his recent allegations.