Tesna recorded an operating margin rate of 23.09% in 2020, the highest among semiconductor packaging and testing companies in South Korea.
The top ten companies for packaging and testing (back-end process) combined recorded average operating margin rates of 5.66%.
Tesna’s operating margin rate beat other global outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) companies. ASE Technology recorded operating margin rate of 7.43% last year and Amkor Technology 6.35%.
Tesna recorded 132.5 billion won in sales and 30.6 billion won in operating income last year, an increase of 36.9% and 27%, respectively, from 2019.
Most South Korean packaging and testing firms focus on memory semiconductors. However, Tesna focuses on system semiconductors such as system-on-a-chip, CMOS image sensor, smart card IC, microcontroller unit, and application processors.
System semiconductor testing in more expensive than memory as it requires more particular expertise for each product category. Memories are more standardized in comparison.
Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix are also applying the latest packaging on their own memory products and internalizing the process.
For system semiconductors, the companies still rely more so on OSAT. Nepes Ark, which also focuses on logic chips, recorded margin rate of 33.28% in 2019 and 12.75% in 2020. It tests power management ICs and display driver ICs.
A Tesna spokesperson said the company expanded its facilities in 2019, which allowed it to handle more testing orders.
It is also using a 12-inch wafer testing kit at its factory at Ansung, which began operation last year. Previously, it used mostly 8-inch wafer testing equipment.
The factory at Ansung is being used to test image sensors and application processors made by Samsung. The tech giant is seeing its supply of image sensors to Chinese companies Oppo, Vivo and Xiaomi increase in recent years.
Meanwhile, other packaging and testing companies besides Tesna saw their earnings drop in 2020, despite high earnings from their customer Samsung and SK Hynix. Hana Micron, LB Semicon and Winpac saw sales increase, but their profitability suffered from their increasing spending facilities in anticipation of high demand in 2021.
However, fortunes of testing companies are expected to increase in 2021 due to high demand for semiconductors globally. LB Semicon was chosen as a secondary vendor for image sensor testing by Samsung last year. It has started testing for the tech giant in March.