|Bid||46,700.00 x 0|
|Ask||46,750.00 x 0|
|Day's Range||46,600.00 - 46,850.00|
|52 Week Range||36,850.00 - 48,450.00|
|Beta (3Y Monthly)||1.16|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Earnings Date||Jul 31, 2019|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1,416.00 (3.07%)|
|1y Target Est||54,903.00|
(Bloomberg) -- Escalating tensions between South Korea and Japan have darkened the clouds overhanging the global economy. But they’ve brightened up a part of the stock market. South Korean suppliers of key materials for chipmakers have surged about 19% since Japan unveiled measures targeting its neighbor. The thinking is that these companies may win new business from key players including Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc.Eleven stocks considered as beneficiaries of the conflict have seen a combined $1.5 billion increase in market capitalization. Among the winners: Foosung Co., which makes hydrogen fluoride, and Soulbrain Co., which trades semiconductor-related chemicals.The bilateral dispute deepened almost three weeks ago, when Japan moved to restrict materials vital to South Korea’s all-important tech industry. The background is a long-running dispute between the neighbors over events dating back to Japan’s colonization of the Korean peninsula during the first half of the 20th century.Why Japan and South Korea Still Spar Over History: QuickTakeThere could be another twist to the tale, though. Rivals of Korean memory chipmakers may have a window to nab market share while Samsung and SK Hynix are trying to line up suppliers outside of Japan.“If the Korean producers face a prolonged supply constraint, this is an opportunity for their competitors,” said Casey McLean, an investment analyst at Fidelity International in Hong Kong. “Semiconductor companies are acutely aware that surety-of-supply is critical, with product cycles compressing and lead times shortening.”Another Winner?With only three main players in the DRAM chip market, analysts covering Micron Technology Inc. have raised their share-price targets on that company. New chips produced by Korean rivals may not enjoy a long testing period, potentially damaging their data center build-outs.McLean also questioned whether Samsung or SK Hynix would be able to maintain the quality of their products should they adopt non-Japanese suppliers. “Whilst there are some domestic suppliers for materials, they produce lower-purity products, which would impact memory yields,” he said. “This issue surely increases the desire for the Korean supply chain to localize, but it does raise the question why it has not already occurred.”SK Group Chairman Chey Tae-Won, who oversees SK Hynix, said the company can produce chips with materials from local suppliers, but “it is a matter of quality,” when asked why the firm hadn’t yet switched to domestic supplies. One of the materials, hydrogen fluoride, is lacking in “details” required for manufacturing chips, Chey said Thursday.Song Myung-sup, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities Co. in Seoul, is skeptical. Without a plan in place, no one knows how both Korean chipmakers can produce semiconductors with new materials from new suppliers.“There’s no data on domestic materials yet --- it is nonsense to talk about potential yields of chips made with local materials,” Song said. “The point is, if the trade spat with Japan is not resolved for a long term and supply of Korean chips is halted, everyone would face a significant catastrophe.”\--With assistance from Sohee Kim.To contact the reporters on this story: Heejin Kim in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.org;Matt Turner in Hong Kong at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lianting Tu at firstname.lastname@example.org, Divya Balji, Christopher AnsteyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
South Korea's Samsung Electronics has sent letters to local partners urging them to stockpile more Japanese components in case Tokyo expands its export restrictions, a source with knowledge of the matter said on Thursday. The move comes in the face of Tokyo's curbs on some exports of high-tech materials to South Korea that threaten to disrupt the global supply of microchips used by technology companies around the world. Earlier on Thursday, Yonhap news agency reported that Samsung had sent the letters and was "exploring all possible means" to secure more components in preparation for Japan possibly expanding the restrictions.
South Korea's Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix have asked a local supplier to the boost supply of a key chipmaking chemical to guard against any production disruptions, an official at the supplier said on Tuesday. The move by the two chipmakers to secure supplies of hydrogen fluoride comes after Japan said earlier this month that it would tighten curbs on exports of high-tech materials used in smartphone displays and chips to South Korea, threatening to disrupt the global supply of microchips consumed by the likes of Apple Inc and Huawei Technologies Co.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Since the U.K. decided more than three years ago to leave the European Union, the nation's savviest investors have succeeded by putting their money where Brexit matters least.Uncertainty about the date of Britain’s departure (now pushed back to Oct. 31) and the terms of the divorce has meant purging the U.K. from their holdings or limiting them to investments traditionally impervious to man-made and natural disasters. Over 38 months, British sterling depreciated 16 percent, the worst shrinkage for any similar period in 8 years. The pound remains the poorest performer in the actively-traded foreign exchange market and inferior to the No. 3 euro.Europe's strongest major economy in the 21st century became a shadow of its former self, reversing two decades preceding the June 23, 2016 referendum when the U.K. outperformed the European Union in growth and investment. London's stock and bond markets similarly languished as laggards to world benchmarks, after beating them consistently in the 20 years prior to the decision to leave the EU, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“If I give myself some credit, I would say that we acted reasonably fast liquidating U.K. shares” in 2016, said Ben Rogoff, whose Polar Capital Technology Trust PLC has been the most consistent winner out of the 212 British global funds with at least 1 billion pounds this year and during the past three years. His team's 114 percent total return (income plus appreciation) was 22 percentage points better than the Dow Jones World Technology Index, mostly because 68% of the fund is invested in the U.S., two-thirds of that in California companies, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “It's all about the Internet and where do you get exposed to the Internet? The U.S. and China,” Rogoff said last month during an interview at Bloomberg in London.While Rogoff reduced his holdings of three California tech powers during the past year — Cupertino-based Apple Inc., Menlo Park-based Facebook and Santa Clara-based Advanced Micro Devices — he acquired more shares in Hong Kong-based Tencent Holdings Ltd, Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. and Tokyo-based Yahoo Japan Corp., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The 46-year-old graduate of St. Catherine's College, Oxford, became the lead manager of the trust in 2006, “and at that time,” he said, “the U.K. weighting might have been 5% to 10%, so if you had already been backing away to the door, it's a lot easier to escape than if you built a career around being an expert in U.K. equities.” Since the Brexit referendum, he said, “There's just been a complete buyers' strike of U.K. equities.”Proof of such disdain comes with the crisis this year at the LF Woodford Equity Income Fund, Britain's most-prized investment when it was launched by star money manager Neil Woodford in 2014. The celebrated stock picker became even more prominent with his contrarian bullish stance on Brexit. The fund plummeted 31% during the past two years by holding a combination of large and small U.K. companies and has frozen redemptions indefinitely.“It's symptomatic of a broader problem,” Bank of England Governor Mark Carney told reporters earlier this month. “Our sense is that the financial-stability risks are increasing.”One U.K. investor who’s successfully resisted the trend away from domestic stocks is Nick Train, who manages Finsbury Growth & Income Trust. It returned 61% the past three years — more than twice the FTSE All-Share Index benchmark — as the most consistent one- and three-year performer among the 129 U.K.-based funds investing mostly in domestic stocks or bonds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Unlike Woodford, who doubled down on the British economy writ large, Train, a 60-year-old graduate of Queen’s College, Oxford, dramatically increased his holdings in consumer staples. These are the companies that make such essentials as food, beverages and household goods and can resist business cycles because their products always are in demand.Train, who declined to be interviewed, increased the consumer staples weighting relative to the benchmark to 27% from 23% in 2015 and he enhanced his holdings of Deerfield, Illinois-based Mondelez International Inc., which manufactures and markets packaged food products, and London-based Diageo PLC, the world's largest producer of spirits and beer, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.That's likely to be a safe bet as no one is counting on the British economy rebounding significantly from near the bottom of the EU while the uncertainty created by Brexit persists. “If you take a long view, then this may well be a great time to be investing in U.K. equity,” said Rogoff. “Thankfully, I don't have to make that binary call because there are very few U.K. companies I'm frankly interested in.”\--With assistance from Shin Pei, Richard Dunsford-White, Kateryna Hrynchak and Suzy Waite.To contact the author of this story: Matthew A. Winkler at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Landman at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Matthew A. Winkler is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is the editor-in-chief emeritus of Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co. has managed to secure an emergency supply of key materials to sustain its chip-making operations for the time being, averting short-term disruption from a Japanese ban of critical semiconductor and display components.That temporary lifeline didn’t represent a “fundamental solution,” a Samsung spokesman said Monday, confirming a report by Yonhap over the weekend. Jay Y. Lee, the corporation’s de facto leader, had convened a meeting on Saturday with top management and asked them to prepare contingency plans, he added. The Samsung vice chairman ordered them to prepare for various scenarios, for instance should Japan remove Korea from its so-called “white-list” of nations not deemed to present a risk of weapons proliferation, the spokesman said.Korea’s largest company is grappling with a spat between Japan and South Korea that risks upending the global technology supply chain. The government of Asia’s second largest economy this month slapped export restrictions on three materials that, while little-known outside of the industry, are profoundly important for electronics production. Samsung had less than a month’s worth of supply of the materials on average, people familiar told Bloomberg last week.Among the targeted materials are fluorinated polyimide, required for the production of flexible panels -- such as those used in Samsung’s Galaxy Fold -- among other things. Photo-resists are key to chipmaking, while hydrogen fluoride is needed for both chip and display production. It’s unclear how much of each Samsung had secured, and the spokesman didn’t elaborate. Samsung has been scrambling to find alternatives and one of the ways is to secure materials from Japanese suppliers’ overseas plants.Resurgent tensions between Japan and South Korea threaten to wallop chipmakers from Samsung to SK Hynix Inc., potentially smothering the production of memory chips and other components vital to widely used devices. That will in turn pressure an industry already struggling to come to grips with U.S.-Chinese trade tensions.Lee had visited Japan last week to meet senior officials from the country’s business sector. Samsung’s emergency supplies were secured through the company’s efforts, separate from his trip, the spokesman added.(Updates with details of the three materials from the second paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at firstname.lastname@example.org, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co. has secured emergency supplies of three key materials that Japan had cut off as part of its export restrictions, averting a crisis at the South Korean company’s production lines.Samsung Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee shared the “outcome” of his Japan trip with the company’s management during a directors’ meeting he hosted on Saturday, Yonhap reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the financial situation. While it is unknown how Lee secured the additional inventory, or how big the emergency stock is, his procurement will help prevent a “grave manufacturing deadlock,” Yonhap said.A Samsung Electronics representative was not immediately available to comment.Lee visited Tokyo last week to try to find alternative sources for semiconductors in response to Japan’s export curbs against South Korea, the Korea Times reported. He planned meetings with Japan’s major banks and chipmakers during his trip, according to TV Asahi. The Japanese action has evolved from a historic dispute between the two countries to one affecting some business sectors.Source AlternativesWhile inventory levels differ across each material, Samsung has less than a month’s worth of supply on average, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg last week. While trying to source alternatives, the company is bracing for potential production cuts, or even stoppages, should the situation persist, the people said.In the meeting with directors, Lee also ordered the company’s management to prepare a contingency plan in case the spat between Japan and South Korea leads to further trade restrictions, Yonhap cited another unidentified person as saying.Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party senior member Koichi Hagiuda said on Sunday the “inappropriate incidents” that triggered Japan’s crackdown on certain exports to South Korea must have been serious. The inappropriate incidents included cases affecting Japan’s national security, Tetsuo Saito, a senior member of the Komeito Party in the ruling coalition party, said during the same debate.To contact the reporter on this story: Hooyeon Kim in Seoul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Shamim Adam at firstname.lastname@example.org, Stanley JamesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
No, like any Ice Bucket Challenge-worthy meme, others are getting in on the trade war bandwagon and making it their own. The two countries have slipped into their own trade war over the past few weeks, a conflict that now threatens the foundations of Japan’s supplier industry, Samsung Electronics, and global smartphone and computer shipments. If the U.S./China trade war emanates from the dark recesses of President Trump’s brain, then this new trade war emanates from the dark chapters of Japan and South Korea’s collective and sad history.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. The feud between Japan and South Korea worsened, as Seoul called for an international probe into Tokyo’s claims it allowed sensitive materials to end up in the hands of North Korea.South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s office proposed the investigation just as government officials sat down in Tokyo to discuss Japan’s introduction of tighter export controls that threaten to crimp the tech sector’s supplies of vital production materials.What Japan called an explanatory session ran well over its allotted time by several hours. The Japanese side explained the basis for its decision from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government, and the South Korean side did not ask for the measures to be revoked, a Japanese official said.“It seems that Prime Minister Abe sees domestic value in igniting Korea-Japan tensions and little incentive to keep the relationship constructive,” said Mintaro Oba, a former U.S. diplomat who worked on Korean Peninsula issues. “Unless there is a cost to his public position or the U.S. alliance with Japan because of his actions, Abe will keep feeding the fire -- and South Korea may have to respond in kind as the Korean public reacts to Japan. There is tremendous potential for escalation here.”In a separate post-meeting briefing in Seoul, an industry ministry official said the South Korean counterparts were told that Japan “will remove” Korea from a so-called “white list” of countries to which it exports. Industry ministry director general Lee Hohyeon said South Korea called for additional talks by July 24, when the public comment period for possible removal ends.Japanese officials didn’t comment in their briefing on a decision being made to remove South Korea from the list of trusted export destinations treated as presenting no risk of weapons proliferation -- a move that Abe’s government has said it could make as soon as July 24.The scenes of somber officials from both sides meeting in a bare Japanese conference room were played on cable news loops in South Korea, where a poll earlier this week showed that two-thirds of adults planned to boycott goods from their neighbor. The tit-for-tat over export controls has escalated a long-simmering feud over whether Japan needs to further compensate Koreans who suffered under its 1910-45 occupation of the peninsula.‘A desperate measure’A Japanese official told Bloomberg News on Thursday that Tokyo had found a number of cases over the past three years of the materials being shipped to North Korea, China and Iran from South Korea. While Japanese officials including Abe have cited reexport concerns as their main reason for implementing the licensing requirements, they have so far stopped short of publicly identifying the recipient countries in question.China, Iran and North Korea are all American security rivals and subjects of Trump administration pressure campaigns, complicating any potential U.S. effort to broker a truce between two of its closest allies.Speculation that South Korea failed to abide by United Nations restrictions on trade with North Korea was “deeply regrettable,” President Moon Jae-in’s national security deputy Kim You-geun said in a televised briefing Friday in Seoul, adding the country wanted an investigation into both sides’ export controls. The move represents Moon’s most forceful effort yet to push back against a decision by Japan to implement export controls on production materials vital to South Korean companies such as Samsung Electronics Co.“If there are any findings of our government’s faults as a result of the investigation, our government will apologize and immediately make fixes,” said Kim. “However, if there is a result that the South Korean government made no mistakes, the Japanese government should not only make an apology, but also immediately withdraw the retaliatory measure of the export curbs.”Samsung Electronics shed about $13 billion in market value after the curbs were announced July 1, although it has since recovered somewhat as anxious memory-chip buyers move to stockpile supplies. South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index has fallen 2% this month, compared with a 1.9% increase in Japan’s Nikkei.Resolving the export issue is more difficult because it’s been entangled with a dispute over South Korean court rulings ordering the seizure of Japanese corporate assets to compensate Koreans forced to work in colonial-era factories and mines. Another expected court decision and a Japanese deadline on its request for arbitration on the matter next week could further heighten tensions.‘Difficult to resolve’Japan will release details on suspected illegal transfers once it can address intelligence concerns, said the Japanese official, who asked not to be identified discussing security information that hasn’t been publicly disclosed. While Abe has said the measures were not a means of retaliating over the historical dispute, the official said Moon’s efforts to undo agreements to resolve historical issues haven’t improved the relationship.The materials targeted by Japan are key to electronics productions. Within the tech sector, fluorinated polyimide is needed for the production of foldable panels, such as those used in Samsung’s Galaxy Fold. Photo-resists are essential for chipmaking, while hydrogen fluoride is needed for both chip and display production.On Wednesday, South Korea’s industry ministry said the country had previously disclosed 156 cases of illegal exports of “strategic” materials between 2015 and 2019, but that included no instances involving Japanese hydrogen fluoride. While some South Korean companies made unapproved transfers to Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam, but no countries under United Nations sanctions, the ministry said.Oh Joon, a former South Korean ambassador to the United Nations, said the forced labor dispute complicated matters.“The issue of exports control related to North Korea is something that South Korea and Japan can overcome. It’s a technical issue,” Oh said. “If the two sides share enough information, the two countries could move on, but pouncing on this matter with the forced labor case only makes it difficult to resolve problems.”(Adds details from news briefings, analyst comment in fourth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Seyoon Kim, Shinhye Kang, Jon Herskovitz, Yuko Takeo and Emi Nobuhiro.To contact the reporters on this story: Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at email@example.com;Jenny Leonard in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org;Sohee Kim in Seoul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org, Peter PaeFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- Apple Inc. looks like it may put down close to $1 billion just to keep its devices at the leading edge. Japan Display Inc., one of its key providers of screens, said Friday morning it would get up to $400 million from bailout partner Harvest Tech Investment Management Co. Nestled into its two-page stock exchange statement was the revelation that the funding includes $100 million already pledged by a customer.That customer is Apple, according to a Bloomberg News story published in late June. Taiwan’s TPK Holding Co., another long-time iPhone component supplier, had been in talks to join a $1.1 billion rescue package for Japan Display but pulled out. That left the company needing to look elsewhere, and Apple stepped in to help fill the void.This development comes a week after Apple’s main screen supplier, Samsung Electronics Co., made a cryptic reference to a “one-time gain related to the display business” in its preliminary second-quarter earnings statement. The U.S. company will pay as much as 1 trillion won ($850 million) to make up for a shortfall in purchases of organic light-emitting diode, or OLED, according to South Korea’s Electronics Times and analysts at Citigroup Global Markets. (Apple hadn’t replied to a request for comment by publication time Friday.)What’s interesting about both these cases is that neither of the payments appears to be for purchasing components directly. Rather, they are simply to prop up or compensate suppliers that Apple uses to manufacture the most advanced screens available. Samsung is among companies that preceded Apple in incorporating OLED displays in smartphones, yet the iPhone maker is the only one that buys them by the tens of millions. It relies on Samsung’s display division to make that happen. Apple probably locked in that supply by promising to buy a minimum amount, and it may have fallen short given recent weakness in iPhone growth. At the same time, the U.S. company desperately needs alternative sources to ensure it’s not beholden to any one supplier. That’s where a Japan Display bailout comes in. The Japanese company said its 20.4 billion yen ($188 million) operating loss in the March quarter was wider than the prior period “as a result of R&D expenses for preparation of OLED mass production.”Japan Display being able to make lots of OLED screens is great news for Apple – as long as it doesn’t go belly-up before that happens. Apple, therefore, has an incentive to keep the company afloat.With global smartphone brands running out of novel ways to spice up their offerings, it’s crucial for premium devices such as the iPhone to maintain technological leadership. In a downturn, Apple’s starting to find out the price of staying at the bleeding edge. To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Matthew Brooker at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc.’s flagship central London retail store gets a new neighbor on Thursday, as Microsoft Corp. opens its inaugural European high-street presence just meters away.Microsoft has taken over three floors and 2,043 square meters (22,000 square feet) of a historic building on the corner of Regent Street and Oxford Street -- London’s central shopping thoroughfare -- originally designed in 1912, and which since 1996 had housed Benetton Group SpA’s main U.K. clothing outlet.“As we build our own hardware with Surface and expand our enterprise offerings, we’re finding that a physical location has been really valuable,” Microsoft Chief Marketing Officer Chris Capossela said in an interview. “We’ve had a team working on this for multiple years now.”Technology giants’ push to open flashy stores to showcase their devices and software has proven to be one of the few bright spots for the U.K.’s ailing retail industry, which has been beset by bankruptcies, store closures and rent cuts. Pressure from online retailers such as Amazon.com Inc. and a rise in costs stemming from the pound’s Brexit-induced weakness are crippling chain stores in particular.Apple stores are now among the biggest drivers of foot traffic to shopping malls, replacing department stores as the most sought after anchor tenants in new developments. Samsung Electronics Co. leased the anchor store in the upscale mall designed by Thomas Heatherwick that opened in London’s Kings Cross district last year to provide a showroom for its devices.Capossela said the years of planning to expand to Europe was not affected by observations of Britain’s ailing high streets, but rather from what it had learned by operating stores in the U.S. over the past 10 years.“We’re not doing a physical retail store because somebody else isn’t,” he said. “It’s really just an opportunity for us to serve a set of customers that want to know what’s going on at our company.”The new store blends white walls with wooden flooring and furniture, adding floor-to-ceiling video panels, laser-etching stations for product personalization, and a variety of conference rooms for training and education sessions.Customers can try out Microsoft’s Hololens augmented-reality headset, or pick up a new laptop or charging cable. But video-gamers and fans of the company’s Xbox platform get a large dedicated area just to themselves. A room filled with Xbox One consoles are also fitted with webcams and headsets to host in-store e-sports tournaments, and 98-inch screens dot most walls to entice popular streamers to showcase their presence at the site.“No other Microsoft store has the gaming lounge that this store has,” Capossela said. “There are gaming experiences here that are completely unique to London.”The building sits in one of the English capital’s most upmarket areas, Oxford Circus -- the busiest pedestrian crossing in Europe, according to Westminster City Council. It was designed by John Nash, the architect behind Buckingham Palace, which itself is just a short walk away from Microsoft’s new store.The CMO wouldn’t comment on whether the company planned on opening other stores in the U.K or Europe, or how long a lease it had committed to within the London building.\--With assistance from Dina Bass and Jack Sidders.To contact the reporter on this story: Nate Lanxon in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org, Molly SchuetzFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Samsung Venture, the investment arm of the South Korean technology giant, has invested $8.5 million in Indus OS and three other Indian startups as the company's VC fund begins its journey in the country. Indus OS is a popular Android fork that has built a suite of localized applications focused on serving the masses in India. Samsung and Venturest funded the four-year-old startup’s $5.75 million Series B round.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- If there was ever a time for Japan and South Korea to engage in a supply-chain spat, this isn’t it.Last week, Japan moved to restrict exports of materials used to make semiconductors and smartphone screens to its North Asian neighbor, citing grievances between the two countries dating back seven decades. The curbs threaten the flow of components that feeds the world's hunger for technology hardware. It may also hand Beijing a victory.A U.S.-China trade war and the concurrent technology cold war means that companies have started figuring out new ways to source production materials. We already know that manufacturers – not just American ones – are looking to dilute their China presence by taking an ABC (anywhere but China) policy to new facilities.If you’re the CEO of a Japanese chemical company, your first thought may be: This is a good thing. You’re facing steepening competition from Chinese upstarts for business from that South Korean semiconductor manufacturer you count among major clients. Korean firms looking to shrink their China footprint is a step in the right direction.But now that Japan is restricting certain exports, South Korean manufacturers may be looking to source even more from China – or Taiwan, Europe and elsewhere. Even those firms expanding beyond the mainland may try to mollify Beijing by agreeing to buy more materials from China.The U.S.-China trade war has given firms an excuse to rethink their exposure along the supply chain and diversify. Indeed, some companies may be feeling their sourcing is too concentrated. Samsung Electronics Co., for example, puts 92% of its procurement spending into just 34% of its suppliers. The company has 10 production sites in China, six in South Korea and zero in Japan.With the technology cold war now underway, new revenue sources are starting to appear on the radar in China. These semiconductor, display and electronics companies are flush with cash and ambition, making it likely they’ll provide growth that staid North Asian incumbents can’t offer.The silver lining to Japan and South Korea’s latest feud is that the current slump in global demand is likely to minimize any impact. But even then, the third quarter is an inopportune time to crimp supply: It's right when firms build ahead of year-end hardware demand.However you look at it, old-guard technology suppliers and buyers aren’t likely beneficiaries from any interruption in the status quo. As leaders of both North Asian countries consider their next steps, they need to remember that anything driving a wedge between Tokyo and Seoul can only help Beijing. They may have leftover and justified grievances from a war 74 years ago, but there’s a potentially bigger battle ahead.To contact the author of this story: Tim Culpan at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Rachel Rosenthal at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. Resurgent tensions between Japan and South Korea threaten to wallop chipmakers from Samsung Electronics Co. to SK Hynix Inc., upsetting a carefully choreographed global supply chain by smothering the production of memory chips and other components vital to widely used devices.As the world fixates on Donald Trump’s campaign to contain Huawei Technologies Co. and China’s ambitions, a concurrent dispute between Beijing’s two richest neighbors also has far-reaching implications for the production of everything from Apple Inc. iPhones to Dell Technologies Inc. laptops. The industry is now scrambling to gauge the fallout after Japan -- citing longstanding and unresolved tensions -- slapped restrictions on exports to Korea of three classes of materials crucial to the production of semiconductors and cutting-edge screens.That maneuver, the most recent manifestation of decades of war-time tensions, places Samsung at the center of a firestorm and again underscores the global nature of the production machine that cranks out most of the world’s gadgets. Not only does it make memory chips, but Samsung is also the biggest producer of smartphones.Korea’s largest company has lost about 16 trillion won ($13 billion) in market value this month through Monday, while Hynix has shed 1.5 trillion won. The two companies -- which together account for 60% of the world’s memory chip-making capacity -- declined to comment.While inventory levels differ across each material, Samsung has under a month’s worth of supply on average, according to people familiar with the matter. Samsung and SK Hynix are busily sourcing alternatives, the people said, asking not to be identified talking about a sensitive political issue. The two Korean giants assured clients they would try to minimize the impact on output, but Samsung, for one, is bracing for potential production cuts or even stoppages should the situation persist, the people said.That’s why the Korean conglomerate’s de facto leader, Jay Y. Lee, hopped on a jet to Tokyo over the weekend for emergency meetings with Japanese suppliers. It’s unclear how deeply felt the impact might be -- much depends on whether Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and South Korean President Moon Jae-In can work out a compromise. But in a worst-case scenario, flexible screens for iPhones and other mobile devices could sputter, while memory chips used in everything from HP Inc. notebooks to Amazon.com Inc. servers could dwindle.“This is an unprecedented event,” said Jongjun Won, chief executive officer at Lime Asset Management Co. “If it’s lucky, the chip industry may be able to adjust inventories. There could be a happy ending if the Japan issue gets resolved in the meantime. However, the intertwining of politics and business is making it difficult to find a solution.”The dispute has spilled over into social media. South Koreans, angered by Japan’s move, have taken to Instagram and other platforms to call for boycotts of Japanese travel and consumer products.Japan’s targeting a trio of materials that, while little-known outside of the industry, is profoundly important for electronics production. The government says they also have sensitive military applications. Within the tech sector, fluorinated polyimide is required for the production of foldable panels -- such as those used in Samsung’s Galaxy Fold -- among other things. Photo-resists are key to chipmaking, while hydrogen fluoride is needed for both chip and display production.Finding substitutes won’t be easy: Korean corporations now depend on Japan for over 90% of all the fluorinated polyimide and resists it needs, and 44% of its hydrogen fluoride requirements, Societe Generale estimates. Ironically, if the dispute drags on, Japanese suppliers of those chemicals -- companies from JSR Corp. to Shin-Etsu Chemical Co. that comprise a small but inextricable link in the chain -- could take a hit as well.“This could be a negative factor for the world economy,” Huh Nam-Kwon, CEO at Shinyoung Asset Management Co, said by phone. “All we need to do is wait and see how the situation goes. Just one word from Abe could decide anything. It’s hard to predict.”The most significant impact will be on Samsung’s next-generation products: foldable displays as well as chips of 7 nanometer line-widths or less that’re made via the so-called extreme ultra-violet (EUV) process. That puts at risk Samsung’s express goal of investing $116 billion to become the No.1 in the logic chip business by 2030. Without Japan’s materials, Samsung may be hamstrung in efforts to develop an EUV-based foundry business and in advanced memory chipmaking.Their rivals may step in to fill that gap in the interim. Micron Technology Inc., the only other memory chip maker of significance, stands to benefit. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. could further widen its lead over Samsung when it comes to made-to-order chips, vying for Samsung customers like Qualcomm Inc. and Nvidia Corp.“There will be considerable impact on both sides,” said Heungchong Kim, a senior research fellow at the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy. “Those materials are not something that can be replaced in a short period. This is becoming a weird situation.”The situation may worsen if Japan removes South Korea from a so-called “White List” of countries treated as presenting no risk of weapons proliferation, a move Tokyo is now considering.Japan and Korea have traditionally turned to the U.S. to mediate in their clashes, but it’s unclear this time if Trump is keen to step into the fray. Compounding the situation are the basic mechanics of the restrictions. While not a ban per se, would-be exporters of the affected materials need to obtain a license from the government. That could take up to 90 days -- an eternity for a fast-moving industry.There’s also disagreement by industry analysts over which corporations exactly will get hit hardest, in part because some Japanese firms have either localized production in South Korea or maintain plants in countries such as China.“In the near-term, we do not expect Korean companies’ major customers to move to other component vendors due to high switching costs and long qualification process times,” said J.J. Park, head of Korean equity research at JP Morgan. But “if there is a bottleneck due to a shortage of key materials resulting from Japan’s curb on export of materials, we can’t rule out potential market-share loss to their peers.”Japan’s Sumitomo Chemical Co. is a key supplier of polyimides, according to Taipei-based WitsView and Isaiah Research -- but company representatives deny it makes the material. IHS Markit analyst David Hsieh said in addition to Sumitomo Chemical, SKC -- like Hynix, an affiliate of the giant SK Group -- or Kolon Industries are viable local substitutes.JSR is a major resist producer, while the global hydrogen fluoride market is dominated by Kanto Denka Kogyo Co., Showa Denko KK and Daikin Industries Ltd., according to Taipei-based Isaiah Research. Resist manufacturer Tokyo Ohka Kogyo Co. said it already supplies South Korean customers locally. Daikin said the restrictions will have no impact on its hydrogen fluoride because the materials are made in China, while Morita Chemical Industries Co. is building a plant there that will go online next year.“While high levels of semiconductor inventory might provide some cushion, time may not be on Korea’s side,” Citigroup economists Jin-Wook Kim and Johanna Chua said in a recent note. “Displacing Korean chips would disrupt the supply chain because building alternative sources needs specific technology and sizable capex.”(Updates with analyst’s comments from the 18th paragraph.)\--With assistance from Heejin Kim, Yuki Furukawa and Isabel Reynolds.To contact the reporters on this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at email@example.com;Debby Wu in Taipei at firstname.lastname@example.org;Pavel Alpeyev in Tokyo at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Tom Giles at firstname.lastname@example.org, Edwin Chan, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Investors who have stomached the ups and downs of South Korea’s stock market this year have just been dealt another blow: resurgent tensions with Japan.A trade war initiated by Japan to curb exports of materials crucial for the production of memory chips has wiped out over $35 billion in value from the Korean equity benchmark in July. Investors sold shares in semiconductor makers amid rising concern that they will be the biggest victims of the dispute.Japan’s decision to tighten controls over exports to South Korea of special materials vital to its tech industry erased about 16 trillion won ($13 billion) from Samsung Electronics Co.’s market cap. SK Hynix Inc. has shed 1.5 trillion won. Both Samsung and SK Hynix make up almost a quarter of the benchmark Kospi index.“The first victim will be technology firms, resulting in delays in investment or production,” said Jeon Kyung-dae, who oversees equities at Macquarie Investment Management Korea. “There are a number of other industries where South Korean firms rely on Japanese technologies, such as shipbuilding and machinery, and there’s also concern over boycotts of Japanese products, or vice versa.”South Korea’s stock market had already been roiled by U.S.-China trade tensions, concerns surrounding the outlook for memory chip demand and sensitive relations with North Korea on its denuclearization plans. Last week, President Moon Jae-in’s government lowered its growth forecast for this year.The Kospi index slumped over 2% Monday, the biggest drop in two months as volatility climbed.“The latest skirmish with Japan is just another negative as underlying productivity remains challenged,” said Sat Duhra, fund manager at Janus Henderson Investors. “We have limited tech exposure generally and certainly are not racing to increase this in the current environment.”Chip StocksKorean chipmakers extended last week’s declines after reports that Samsung vice chairman Jay Y. Lee traveled to Japan on Sunday. Morgan Stanley said Samsung and SK Hynix have less than three months of inventory of the affected materials, while other media reports said that it could be less than a month.Read more: Japan-Korea Spat Threatens to Upend the Global Technology Chain“Just until last week, we thought the issue could be relieved with Korean suppliers who can replace Japanese makers,” said Yoon Joon-Won, a fund manager at HDC Asset Management. “But the visit of Jay Y. Lee to Japan seems to have sparked worries that the situation could be worse than expected.”Still, some Korean firms stand to benefit. Shares of local Samsung suppliers jumped this month on expectations that they may win more orders due to Japan’s restrictions.Japan ElectionThe upcoming Japanese upper house election slated for July 21 will be closely watched by investors like HDC Asset’s Yoon, who speculated that politicians may use the export ban issue as part of their campaigns.Read more: What to Watch in Japanese Election That Will Shape Abe’s Legacy“I’m not selling shares in Samsung because of the issue, as I’m waiting for the outcome of the Japan’s election,” Yoon said. “Details on the exports curb may be released before the election.”For some, the tensions aren’t a concern. “We see a limited long-term impact as a political consensus will be reached, both countries are key partners with the U.S. who would not want an escalating trade issue here,” said Ewan Markson-Brown, portfolio manager for Baillie Gifford & Co.Overseas investors have added a net 248 billion won of shares in Samsung since July 1, the most-bought stock on Kospi index.“This is another sign of the emerging theme of de-globalization,” said Knut Gezelius, lead portfolio manager at Skagen Global. “Investors need to ask themselves if the landscape is beginning to change fundamentally.”\--With assistance from Matt Turner.To contact the reporter on this story: Heejin Kim in Seoul at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Divya Balji at firstname.lastname@example.org, Cormac MullenFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
SEOUL/TOKYO (Reuters) - South Korean chipmakers and Japanese chemical suppliers caught in the midst of a sudden escalation of a bilateral diplomatic dispute are scrambling to circumvent tightened export controls imposed by Tokyo, industry executives said. Japan said last week it would stop preferential treatment for shipments of the three materials to South Korea, requiring exporters to gain permission each time they want to ship, which takes around 90 days. Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and SK Hynix are seeking to buy more of the materials from countries like Taiwan or China, said Park Jea-gun, head of the Korean Society of Semiconductor & Display Technology.
(Bloomberg) -- Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged Japan to withdraw new restrictions on exports in his first public remarks on a dispute that erupted last week and has intensified animosity between the two countries.Moon asked his Asian neighbor to “return to the principle of free trade that Japan has been pushing for” and said he would “take responsive measures” if South Korean companies were harmed by the new restrictions.The president’s comments came as a new poll showed most Japanese approved of their government’s decision to tighten controls on exports to South Korea of key materials needed by its tech industry.Investors Dump Korean Chip Makers Amid Japan’s Export CurbsSome 58% of respondents to the survey carried out by the Japan News Network, or JNN, said they approved of the government’s policy, compared with 24% who did not.Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday reiterated denials that the checks were a form of retaliation against South Korea for recent court rulings holding Japanese companies liable for cases of forced labor before and during World War II. Japanese officials have said the judgments damaged trust between the U.S. allies and risked undermining the 1965 treaty that forms the basis of their relations.While the stricter checks on three specialist materials -- which took effect Thursday -- don’t amount to a ban, exporters would be required to obtain a separate license each time they want to sell the materials to South Korea, causing delays. Japan is also considering removing South Korea from a list of trusted export markets, a move that could affect a broader swath of products.South Korea ScramblesSouth Korea’s government and top electronics firms scrambled to tackle the situation. Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee traveled to Japan on Sunday to discuss the tighter controls with local business leaders, Yonhap News reported.Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki held discussions on the “external economic situation” with the heads of top domestic companies over the weekend, President Moon Jae-in’s office said in a statement. Moon, who has not responded publicly to the measures, is set to meet industry leaders July 10, according to Yonhap.The Seoul Metropolitan Government will provide emergency funds to domestic companies affected by Japan’s export restrictions on South Korea’s crucial tech industry, Yonhap reported, citing Cho In-dong, an economic policy officer at the city’s office.(Adds Moon comments in first and second paragraphs.)To contact the reporters on this story: Isabel Reynolds in Tokyo at email@example.com;Jihye Lee in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Brendan Scott at email@example.com, Peter Pae, Karen LeighFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Investing.com – Samsung Electronics’ profit warning painted a gloomy outlook for the semiconductor sector, sending shares of chipmakers tumbling.
Wall Street's main indexes were set to open lower on Friday after a strong rebound in U.S. job growth in June dashed hopes of an aggressive interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve this month. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 224,000 jobs last month, the most in five months, the Labor Department data showed. "It is still more likely than not that the Fed will cut rates but the odds have decreased somewhat," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Samsung Electronics Co. said Friday its operating profit for the last quarter likely fell more than 56% from a year earlier amid a weak market for memory chips. The South Korean tech giant estimated an operating profit of 6.5 trillion won ($5.5 billion) for the April-June quarter, which would represent a 56.3% drop from the same period last year. Analysts say falling prices of DRAM and NAND memory chips are eating into the earnings of the company, which saw its operating profit during the first quarter drop more than 60% from last year.
(Bloomberg) -- Samsung Electronics Co.’s quarterly profit more than halved after a global industry downturn and trade tensions hammered demand for its chips and high-end smartphones.Korea’s largest company reported a less-than-expected 56% fall in operating income to about 6.5 trillion won ($5.6 billion) in the June quarter -- but that was helped by an unspecified one-time gain from a customer that analysts estimate could have topped $800 million. The company won’t provide net income or break out divisional performance until it discloses final results toward the end of the month. Its shares slid 0.8% in Seoul.Samsung -- the world’s biggest producer of smartphone screens, semiconductors and mobile phones -- is grappling with plateauing demand in the face of an economic slowdown. Its memory chips remain a barometer for everything from computers to smartphones and have been one of the hardest-hit components since Trump administration tariffs took effect in May. Jitters over Samsung’s biggest cash cow grew this week when Japan slapped export restrictions on materials needed for display and chip production, potentially hammering also rival SK Hynix Inc.“Considering the structural downturn in memory prices and the mobile business, it’s unlikely Samsung would exceed earnings estimates” in the second half, Meritz Securities analyst Kim Sunwoo said in a report after the release. “As uncertainty over earnings have expanded on macro issues and around each division, the possibility of a special shareholder return plan has decreased significantly.”Unpredictability surrounding the trade war between the U.S. and China -- where Samsung earns the bulk of its revenue -- has sustained a downturn in the chip industry as smartphone demand tapers off and the pace of datacenter construction decelerates. Micron Technology Inc., the largest U.S. maker of computer memory chips, said last week it intended to “meaningfully” reduce its spending in its fiscal year 2020, on top of plans to idle 5% of production of memory chips in the last quarter.In the second quarter, contract prices for 32-gigabyte DRAM server modules fell 19.3% compared to the previous quarter while those for 128 gigabit MLC NAND flash memory chips skidded 5%, according to inSpectrum Tech Inc. DRAM price drops are projected to widen to up to 15% in the current quarter and as much as 10% in the fourth quarter, TrendForce has estimated.“Memory prices are likely to keep sliding due to the ongoing trade war,” said Song Myung-sup, an analyst at HI Investment & Securities Co., adding that shipments should be stable as Chinese customers who haven’t received products from U.S. chipmakers are likely to increase orders. “Samsung’s smartphone business will start to benefit from the U.S. ban on Huawei” in the second half, he added.Japan’s move to restrict the export of chip materials to South Korea also alarmed industry players because it threatened to derail domestic production. But some analysts say it could boost memory prices and remain hopeful that Japan won’t pull the plug on the world’s largest memory chip-making companies.A one-off gain for the display business assuaged some of Samsung’s pain. The company remains the foremost producer of high-margin organic light-emitting diode displays, but hit a snag last year when supplies to Apple Inc. suffered after the marquee iPhone X fared worse than expected.What Bloomberg Intelligence SaysSamsung Electronics will have to contend with weak demand for its components, even after being compensated by Apple for lower-than-expected iPhone shipments in 2Q. It will also need to clarify the impact of Japan’s export curbs on its components business.\-- Anthea Lai, technology analystClick here to read the researchSamsung profit surpassed analysts’ average forecast for 6.1 trillion won thanks to a one-off gain. Its display division had sought financial compensation from Apple because actual shipments of OLED displays for iPhones fell short of contractual estimates, the Electronic Times has reported. The company could have secured as much as 1 trillion won in compensation from a U.S. customer, Citigroup Global Markets has estimated.But its chips division remains both the biggest driver of profit and the one most vulnerable to an economic downturn.“It will take more time to see the recovery of business sentiment for semiconductors,” IBK Securities analyst Kim Woon-ho wrote in a July 2 note. “Demand would rise in 2H but it will be lower than the prior estimates.”(Updates with shares and analyst’s comment from the second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Sam Kim and Michelle Seoh.To contact the reporter on this story: Sohee Kim in Seoul at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Edwin Chan at email@example.com, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Jul.08 -- Mehdi Hosseini, senior analyst at Susquehanna Financial Group, discusses how the tensions between South Korea and Japan are affecting the semiconductor industry. South Korean President Moon Jae-in urged Japan to withdraw new restrictions on exports in his first public remarks on a dispute that erupted last week. Hosseini speaks on "Bloomberg Technology: Global Link."