Fri, Jun 10, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Drop in revenue fails to faze Taiwan Semiconductor

AP AND BLOOMBERG , TAIPEI

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world's biggest contract chipmaker, yesterday said its revenue for last month fell 10 percent from the same month last year, but sounded a note of optimism about prospects for the rest of the year.

The company supplies chips to several of the biggest firms in the global high-tech sector, including Texas Instruments Inc and graphics chip developer Nvidia Corp.

Last month's revenue fell to NT$19.51 billion (US$624.19 million) from NT$21.72 billion in the same month last year, the company said.

TSMC said its revenue in the calendar year to date dropped 5.8 percent to NT$94.06 billion from NT$99.86 billion for the same period last year.

However, company officials said last month's results were better than the figures reported for April.

The improvement was attributable to higher wafer shipments, said Lora Ho (何麗梅), TSMC's chief financial officer.

The company also raised its second-quarter projections "due to demand recovery from our customers," Ho said.

The company said it expects low double-digit growth in its chip shipments -- probably 11 percent to 13 percent -- in the second quarter, compared to this year's first quarter.

TSMC also raised its projection for factory use this quarter after customers reduced inventories.

The company expects to use 84 percent of its factory capacity in the second quarter, compared with 80 percent predicted in April, Ho said. The company used 78 percent of its capacity in the first quarter.

"Due to demand recovery from our customers, we therefore revised upward our second-quarter guidance," she said.

The chipmaker is the latest company to be more optimistic that demand from customers will increase. Texas Instruments, whose semiconductors run more than half of the cellphones sold last year, this week raised its second-quarter profit forecast on improving demand.

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) on Tuesday said revenue for last month fell to NT$6.47 billion from NT$9.65 billion a year earlier.

That revenue also marked a modest rise from April's NT$6.37 billion, the company said.

Sales in the five months to May fell to NT$33.12 billion from NT$44.19 billion a year earlier, the company said.

While the average selling price was expected to fall by high single-digit percentage points sequentially, UMC's second-quarter capacity utilization rate was projected at 60 percent, down from 63 percent in the first quarter.

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