ChipPAC sinks on lowered estimates, downgrade

Investors shaved 60 percent off ChipPAC, Inc. (Nasdaq: CHPC) Wednesday following news its fourth quarter results would miss estimates.

Shares in the maker of semiconductor test and packaging services were down 4.38 to 3 Wednesday morning.

The company also got downgraded by Merrill Lynch. Analyst Brett A Hodess cut the stock to near-term "neutral'' from near-term "buy.'' The long-term rating was cut to "accumulate" from "buy." He also lowered estimates for fiscal 2001 earnings to 47 cents a share from $1.04 a share. Fiscal year 2002 estimates were sliced from 50 cents a share to 35 cents a share.

ChipPAC said Tuesday night it expects net sales for the fourth quarter ended December 31 to be about $128 million, with net income of around 3 cents a share. First Call was expecting earnings of 18 cents a share.

Net sales would still represent an 18.6 percent increase over revenue of $107.9 million for the fourth quarter ended December 31.

The company said that while growth has been strong in chip scale multi-die packages and power products, the gains have not been enough to offset weakness in the wireless and computing end-markets and end of the year inventory adjustments by several customers.

ChipPAc also said it expects annual revenue growth for fiscal 2000 to exceed 30 percent and it remained confident in its long-term growth prospects due to increasing demand from integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) in China.