* Beefing up workforce in response to higher demand
* Doubling capital expenditure in H2 (Adds quotes, details)
Thai integrated circuit packager Hana Microelectronics PCL HANA.BK said on Tuesday that its 2009 revenue could fall by less than the 25-30 percent expected previously, and it forecast better profits for the second half.
It aims to keep its gross margin at around 17 percent, as in the second quarter, and planned to keep increasing staff this year, Chief Executive Richard Han told an analysts' meeting.
Its gross margin fell to 13.8 percent in the first quarter because of weak demand in the global electronics sector.
We're still thinking our sales revenue will be lower than last year's because the first quarter's was so bad, Han said.
What I expect is that this year continues to be a stage of improvement and we're positive on the second half. All divisions are expected to be stronger than the first half, he said.
Asked whether the company's dollar revenue for the year would be better than its earlier estimate, Han said: Yes, maybe.
Hana, which counts Agilent Technologies Inc (A.N) as a major client, posted 2008 sales revenue of $452 million, flat on a year earlier. Its sales revenue for the first six months of 2009 was $167 million.
Han did not give a net profit forecast for the year.
Analysts forecast a 13.5 percent fall in 2009 revenue to 13.06 billion baht ($384 million) and forecast net profit would fall 24 percent to 1.45 billion baht, according to earnings tracker IBES.
Hana, which laid off 1,600 employees last year and in the first quarter, rehired 600 during the second quarter and would add another 200-300 staff in the second half, Han said.
It had a workforce of 9,500 before the job cuts.
Hana planned $10 million in capital expenditure for the second half, mainly for capacity expansion and plant maintenance. It spent $5-$6 million in the first half and more than $25 million in 2008.
Hana shares ended up 0.5 percent at 19.9 baht and the main Thai stock index .SETI was up 0.35 percent. ($1=34.01 Baht) (Reporting by Arada Kultawanich; Editing by Alan Raybould)