Wed, Jun 13, 2012 - Page 12 News List

Chip demand remains strong: TSMC

NO PROBLEMS:With 28-nanometer chips in high demand, the company is aggressively developing 450mm wafer manufacturing technology, TSMC chairman Morris Chang said

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s top contract chipmaker, yesterday said demand for its most advanced 28-nanometer (nm) chips was as strong as expected, unscathed by a worsening global economy.

The company’s comments came in response to a reporter’s question about the impact of escalating global economic woes after Spain requested a larger-than-expected bailout for its troubled banks and US job creation fell short of expectations.

TSMC chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) said demand for its 28nm chips was little changed compared with what he said in April.

“Capacity supply will be very tight this year. However, we will be able to catch up with customers’ demand in the fourth quarter,” Chang said.

He added that the problem of supply constraints would be resolved next year.

Commenting on producing next-generation 450mm wafers, Chang said TSMC was one of the world’s three chipmakers engaged in aggressively developing 450mm wafer manufacturing technology. Intel Corp and Samsung Electronics Co were the other two.

However, Chang said, the technology was not mature yet.

“There will be lots of challenges in the next three years to five years,” he said.

“In the initial stage, TSMC will build a pilot line to manufacture 450mm wafers,” Chang said.

TSMC was likely to start producing 450mm wafers in 2015, as the administration of the Central Taiwan Science Park project (中部科學園區) said on Monday that TSMC planned to complete the construction of its first 450mm factory by that time.

The administration said TSMC planned to invest NT$400 billion (US$13.34 billion) in the new factory.

Yesterday, TSMC shareholders approved a NT$3 per share cash dividend based on the company’s net profit of NT$134.2 billion, or earnings per share of NT$5.18, last year.

That represented about a 58 percent payout ratio, up from 48 percent last year, when TSMC paid a NT$3 cash dividend based on a higher net profit of NT$161.6 billion, or NT$6.23 a share, in 2010.

Local rival United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) yesterday said shareholders gave the go-ahead to a plan to pay a NT$0.5 cash dividend based on the chipmaker’s net profits of NT$10.81 billion, or NT$0.86 per share.

UMC kept its payout ratio unchanged at 58 percent, the same as last year.

UMC shareholders also approved a plan to issue as many as 1.29 billion new common shares, or 10 percent of the company’s shares, at home or overseas through a private placement.

The proceeds of the issue are to be used to finance the expansion of advanced technology capacity, UMC said.

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