Tue, Feb 11, 2014 - Page 14 News List

Semiconductor firms post increased revenues on growing chip demand

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Several semiconductor companies yesterday reported higher revenues for last month than the same month of last year, thanks to growing demand for chips used in mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

However, some of them saw revenues for last month decline from December last year, as the semiconductor industry enters the low season with their customers adjusting inventory.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s top foundry, reported that its consolidated sales rose 8.4 percent year-on-year and 3.5 percent month-on-month to NT$51.43 billion (US$1.69 billion) last month.

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the world’s second-largest wafer foundry, said revenue increased 6.46 percent to NT$10.06 billion from the same month last year.

Last month’s figure was 1.58 percent higher than the December level, the company’s data showed.

The two Hsinchu-based companies did not elaborate on the latest revenue figures yesterday.

TSMC on Jan. 16 offered a conservative guidance for its revenue this quarter, forecasting sales would contract by between 5.36 percent and 6.7 percent sequentially to between NT$136 billion and NT$138 billion, as companies in the supply chain continue to digest their surplus inventories, which would lead to lower orders for the firm.

On Jan. 24, UMC also said its sales for the current quarter would shrink from last quarter, as the average selling prices for its products would drop by about 4 percent and its capacity utilization could fall to between 76 percent and 79 percent, affected by seasonal factors.

Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc (ASE, 日月光半導體), the world’s biggest chip packager and tester, said in a filing to the stock exchange yesterday that its revenue reached NT$18.59 billion last month, an 11.9 percent increase from the year-earlier level, but a 13.2 percent decline from the previous month.

The Greater Kaohsiung-based company last week provided investors with a weaker-than-expected sales guidance for this quarter, a reflection of negative impacts from Apple Inc’s inventory correction and the slowdown in high-end smartphone demand, although analysts remain positive about the company’s outlook throughout this year.

“We remain bullish on its 2014 outlook,” Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Chou (周立中) said in a report on Friday, citing ASE’s strong system-in-packaging demand from mobile and wearable devices in the second half of the year, as well as the additional orders the firm gained from Apple, Micron Technology Inc, Toshiba Corp and MediaTek Inc (聯發科).

Siliconware Precision Industry Co (SPIL, 矽品精密), ASE’s domestic rival, also released its revenue figures for last month yesterday, showing an increase of 30.92 percent year-on-year, but a slight setback of 1.07 percent month-on-month to NT$6.02 billion.

The Hsinchu-based SPIL has recently benefited from orders transferred from MediaTek, Qualcomm Inc, Broadcom Corp and other companies because of ASE’s partial shutdown at its K7 plant over environmental concerns.

On Jan. 27, the company said falling factory utilization could impact its sales for the current quarter, although the company could still perform better than seasonal patterns on the back of a better-than-expected PC market outlook.

Under SPIL’s guidance, sales for the three months ending March 31 would likely shrink by between 4 percent and 8 percent quarter-on-quarter to within a range of between NT$17.33 billion and NT$18.09 billion.

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