United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the world’s second-largest contract chipmaker, yesterday reported record-high sales last year on the back of strong global demand for consumer electronics.
Riding on the wave of the global foundry industry’s recovery, UMC saw sales of NT$120.43 billion (US$4.1 billion), up 35.9 percent from a year ago, the firm said.
However, sales in the fourth quarter fell 4.08 percent from the previous quarter to NT$31.32 billion as a rising NT dollar affected its competitiveness.
Last month, UMC recorded NT$10.18 billion in revenue, down 2.5 percent from November, the lowest level since the NT$10.09 billion posted in May 2009, the company said.
In the last three months of last year, the NT dollar rose by 5.4 percent against the US dollar.
The local currency has continued to climb despite intervention by the central bank to slow its appreciation.
Horizon Securities (宏遠證券) analyst Benson Huang said the impact of the rising NT dollar was widely expected.
However, foundry giants like UMC and its bigger rival, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), need to renegotiate with their clients on pricing for new supply contracts because of the impact of the currency appreciation, he said.
“I am not particularly worried about UMC’s sales, because the foundry business is expected to benefit from growing demand for new tech gadgets, in particular tablet computers,” Huang said.