Sat, Jul 17, 2010 - Page 12 News List

TSMC to spend billions on plant

AWESOME OUTPUT Taichung’s Fab 15 will be TSMC’s third so-called ‘gigafab,’ a plant with a production capacity exceeding 100,000 12-inch wafers per month


Morris Chang, chairman and chief executive officer of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, attends the company’s “Fab 15” factory groundbreaking ceremony in Taichung yesterday.


Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chip maker, yesterday said it planned to spend more than NT$300 billion (US$9.34 billion) over the next few years to invest in a new chip plant in Taichung, which would create 8,000 jobs.

The company yesterday held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new semiconductor fabrication plant, or “Fab 15,” in Taichung, which was conducted by chairman and CEO Morris Chang (張忠謀).

The new facility will incorporate solar power and LED lighting with a goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions, Chang said.

Fab 15 is set to create the 8,000 jobs as TSMC seeks to hire talented workers to run the fab, Chang said in a statement.

Mark Liu (劉德音), senior vice president of operations, told Bloomberg Newswires before yesterday’s ceremony that the company expects to hire up to 4,000 engineers at the site.

The factory will be TSMC’s third so-called “gigafab,” or fab with production capacity of more than 100,000 12-inch wafers per month.

It will also be the company’s second Gigafab equipped for 28-nanometer technology, the company said in the statement.

Construction of the new fab will be divided into four phases — with the first phase to start in June next year. The total investment for the fab would exceed NT$300 billion, the company said.

The fab is expected to start churning out 40nm and 28nm technology products for customers in the first quarter of 2012. More advanced process nodes will follow, it added.

The chipmaker also said yesterday that it would continue to expand capacity at its Fab 12 in Hsinchu and Fab 14 in Tainan.

“Combined capacity of Fab 12 and Fab 14 currently exceeds 200,000 12-inch wafers per month, and the total number will exceed 240,000 by the end of this year,” the statement read.

TSMC, whose clients include Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp, is expanding quickly after posting record sales last quarter amid soaring global demand for computers and digital electronics.

Chang said last month the company was likely to increase capital spending again from a record high of US$4.8 billion to match the pace of a faster-than-expected recovery in electronics demand.

TSMC started increasing capital expenditures in September when it detected that a swift rebound was causing capacity constraints, bringing last year’s capital spending to US$2.7 billion in total, almost double the originally planned US$1.5 billion.

“TSMC is building out capacity now which will be yet another drag on margins over the near-term,” Bank of America Merrill Lynch said in a research note on July 12.

While the Taichung fab would focus on solar business, TSMC is also building its first LED fab in Hsinchu and expects it to be ready for mass production in the first quarter of next year, the note said.

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