Tue, Feb 01, 2011 - Page 12 News List

Chipmaker Vanguard expects return to normalcy

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff Reporter

Following a bleak fourth-quarter performance, Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp (世界先進), a local contract maker of chips used in flat-panel displays, expects its business to return to normal levels in the first quarter.

Vanguard, which is 37.44 percent owned by Taiwan -Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), said it expected wafer shipments to increase by about 30 percent this quarter from the previous quarter.

“After downstream [customers] digested inventory in the previous quarter, wafer foundry demand is picking up,” Vanguard spokesman Robert Hsieh (謝徽榮) said in a statement.

The Hsinchu-based company said it expected fab utilization rate to rise to a range of 84 to 86 percent for the current quarter, from 73 percent in the previous quarter.

Gross margin is likely to recover to 20 percent this quarter — after dropping to 12 percent last quarter from 28 percent in the previous quarter — while the blended average selling price would be flat from the previous quarter, it said.

Vanguard’s bullish outlook came after it said net income declined 63.28 percent quarter-on-quarter to NT$313 million (US$10.68 million), or earnings per share of NT$0.19, on a revenue of NT$3.4 billion, down 29.46 percent.

Wafer shipments totaled 243,000 wafers in the October-to-December period, down 26.59 percent decrease from 331,000 wafers in the previous three months. Gross margin fell to 12 percent from around 28 percent in the previous quarter, it said.

For all of last year, Vanguard’s net income totaled NT$1.95 billion, or NT$1.16 in EPS, on a revenue of NT$16.03 billion and a gross margin of 20 percent. Last year’s net income represented a jump of 20 times from the previous year, while revenue grew 27.32 percent year-on-year.

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