Sales last month of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world's biggest made-to-order chipmaker, were up 31 percent as demand for computers and handsets recovered from an inventory-driven downturn.
Sales last month expanded to NT$29.99 billion (US$923.2 million), from NT$22.87 billion the previous year, but the results represented a 4.1 percent decline from NT$31.27 billion in November, said a company statement released after the local stock market closed.
In total, Hsinchu-based TSMC made NT$93.87 billion in revenues in the fourth quarter of last year, falling in the high end of the NT$82 billion to NT$94 billion range forecast by the chipmaker in October.
The fourth-quarter revenues also set a record, a 5.52 percent quarterly improvement, or a 25 percent year-on-year increase.
Demand had been in the doldrums since the second quarter of last year, as some customers sought to lower their stockpiles. But "the impact of that inventory is now a thing of the past, after significant improvement was made in the third quarter," TSMC executive officer Rick Tsai (
The rebound in the demand for computers and mobile phones was also greater last quarter, thus helping chip prices, Tsai told an investor's conference.
Smaller rival United Microelectronics Co (UMC,
This brought UMC's fourth quarter revenues to NT$27.62 billion, down 11 percent from the third quarter last year. UMC has forecast a 9 percent decline in shipment and 1 percent drop in average selling prices, citing intensifying competition in the semiconductor industry.
TSMC and UMC will give their outlook on the first quarter on Jan. 31 and Jan. 30 respectively.
TSMC shares slid 2.28 percent to NT$55.7 yesterday after foreign investors sold the stock for the sixth straight trading session. UMC shares fell 0.27 percent to NT$18.2.