Wed, Jul 16, 2003 - Page 11 News List

UMC trumpets increase to capital-expenditure levels

AFP , TAIPEI

The United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the world's second largest chip maker, will increase its capital expenditure this year from the level of US$500 million set in April, chairman Robert Tsao (曹興誠) said yesterday.

UMC also announced that its board of directors had appointed Jackson Hu (胡國強) chief executive officer in place of John Hsuan (宣明智), who remains vice chairman, Tsao said.

The company said it will strengthen its R&D on 90-nanometer and more advanced technologies to ensure its leading status in the 12-inch wafer era.

"We are ready to speed up investment in 12-inch-wafer production, with an investment of US$1.5 billion expected before the end of 2004," Hu said.

Tsao said the company is ready to speed up 12-inch-wafer investment on the growing shift into this technology level from 8-inch based output.

The aim is to have UMC's 12-inch-wafer plant at the Tainan Science-based Industrial Park (台南科學園區) in southern Taiwan expand its monthly output to 20,000 pieces by the end of next year, and that of its UMCi business in Singapore to 10,000 pieces, he said.

UMC will also take a close look at its non-core investments outside the integrated circuits industry and dispose of those holdings judged to have little relevance to the business.

Tsao said it is inappropriate to set a timetable for the disposal of non-core investments as this is bound to have an adverse affect on the share prices of the companies named.

When asked to elaborate on non-core investments, Tsao named Sampo Corp (聲寶), Teco Electric and Machinery Co (東元電機) and Chiao Tung Bank (交通銀行), a unit of Mega Financial Holding Co (兆豐金控), among them.

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