April 4, 2014 2:00 am JST

Disco seen with 50% operating profit gain for fiscal 2013

TOKYO -- Disco likely logged a group operating profit of 17 billion yen ($162 million) or so last fiscal year, an increase of nearly 50%, bolstered by an expanding market for smartphones and tablets.

     The Japanese manufacturer of chipmaking equipment had forecast 15.4 billion yen in black ink.

     Sales apparently climbed roughly 10% to a record 105 billion yen, beating the 102.1 billion yen guidance. As the market for such mobile devices as smartphones and tablets grew, interest in capital spending rose among Disco's chipmaker clients.

     Sales of grinders and dicers to Taiwanese and Chinese customers were particularly brisk. Demand swelled among U.S. and European manufacturers for research and development equipment for cutting-edge products.

     Blades and other consumables also sold well. These likely boosted earnings by virtue of their higher profit margins. The weak yen also contributed by improving the profitability of exports.

     With the rollout of new smartphone models expected in the latter half of this year, the company apparently continues to receive a stream of inquiries from Asian manufacturers.