Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, yesterday posted better-than-expected third-quarter revenues, but last month’s revenues fell to the lowest level in seven months.
Revenues fell 11.3 percent to NT$33.41 billion (US$1.1 billion) last month, from NT$37.65 billion in August, boosted by rush orders, according to a company statement released yesterday.
TSMC did not expect such short-term orders to continue into the current quarter given increasing uncertainty in the global economy, company spokesperson Lora Ho (何麗梅) said last month.
In the quarter ending Sept. 30, the Hsinchu-based chipmaker accumulated NT$106.49 billion in revenues, exceeding the company’s forecast range of between NT$102 billion and NT$104 billion. That represented about a 3.6 percent decline compared with NT$110.51 billion in the second quarter.
TSMC’s third-quarter revenues were slightly lower than the NT$107.8 billion projected by Credit Suisse analyst Randy Abrams.
Abrams expected the chipmaker’s revenues to fall 4 percent quarter-on-quarter this quarter to NT$103.42 billion.
“We are seeing downward revision from customers responding to downstream inventory or demand cuts ... We expect TSMC fourth-quarter shipments to decline 7 percent quarter-on-quarter,” Abrams said in a report yesterday.
Credit Suisse’s forecast seemed at odds with the expectation of TSMC chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀), who told investors in August that he expected TSMC and its customers to reduce excessive inventories to normal levels at the end of last quarter, which would help improve TSMC’s factory utilization this quarter.
Credit Suisse retained its out-perform rating on TSMC because of the stock’s defensive position, as the chipmaker’s technological leadership would help it safeguard pricing power and market share.
Local rival United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) yesterday said last month’s revenues dropped 0.3 percent with NT$8.18 billion, compared with NT$8.2 billion in August, hitting the weakest monthly revenues in the almost two-and-a-half years since May 2009.
UMC’s revenues last month beat Credit Suisse’s estimate of NT$7.9 billion as the company indicated rush orders for China Golden Week handset inventory buildup, Abrams said in a separate report issued yesterday.
UMC’s third-quarter revenues dropped 10.52 percent to NT$25.19 billion, from NT$28.15 billion in the April-to-June period, which matched the chipmaker’s forecast.
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