Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday posted the weakest monthly revenue in five months, matching its forecast of a slow period this quarter because of customers’ digestion of excessive inventory.
Revenue fell 6.5 percent to NT$51.8 billion (US$1.76 billion) last month, compared with September’s NT$55.38 billion, which was a historical high. That was an annual growth of 3.6 percent from NT$50 billion.
The world’s top contract chipmaker told an investors’ conference on Oct. 17 that revenue would drop to between NT$144 billion and NT$147 billion this quarter, representing a quarterly decline ranging from 9.58 percent to 11.43 percent, compared with the NT$162.58 billion for last quarter.
TSMC chairman and chief executive officer Morris Chang (張忠謀) said at the time that the sales decline was due to softening demand for high-end smartphones and because of clients’ inventory adjustments. He said inventory would not return to normal seasonal levels by the end of this quarter.
More than half of TSMC’s revenue came from chips used in mobile phones and other communications products.
In the first 10 months of the year, consolidated sales rose 18.3 percent year-on-year to NT$503.01 billion, the company said.
Inventory-driven industry weakness also affected United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the world’s third-largest contract chipmaker. It said monthly revenue fell 3.5 percent to NT$10.47 billion from NT$10.85 billion in September.
Last month’s figure meant a 4.13-percent annual increase from NT$10.05 billion.
UMC chief executive Yen Po-wen (嚴博文) last month told investors that inventory correction and a weak macroeconomy would result in an 8 percent to 10 percent sequential decline in the company’s wafer shipments this quarter.
The firm’s factory utilization rate would drop to a break-even point of 75 percent this quarter from 87 percent last quarter, Yen said.
The company’s consolidated sales rose 6.9 percent year-on-year to NT$103.56 billion in the first 10 months.
However, Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp (世界先進) bucked the downward trend, as the maker of driver ICs used in flat panels reported 1.69 percent monthly growth in revenue for last month to NT$1.81 billion from September’s NT$1.78 billion.
On an annual basis, it was a 0.22 percent increase from NT$1.806 billion.
Vanguard said weak demand would drive down shipment to reduce 4 percent to 6 percent quarter-on-quarter in the October-to-December period from last quarter, but average selling prices would increase 1 percent to 3 percent sequentially because of better product portfolio.
Meanwhile, the world’s two biggest chip packagers Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體) and Siliconware Precision Industries Co (矽品精密) posted 1.8 percent and 1.6 percent monthly growth for their revenue last month respectively.
ASE’s revenue rose to NT$20.76 billion from NT$20.39 billion in September, while Siliconware said revenue increased to NT$6.56 billion last month from NT$6.45 billion.