TSMC posts record monthly revenue on back of 28nm chips

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Jun 09, 2012 - Page 12

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s top contract chipmaker, yesterday posted record high monthly revenue for last month after customers’ stronger-than-expected demand for the company’s most advanced 28 nanometer chips caused a shortage.

Revenue grew at an annual 20.2 percent to NT$44.14 billion (US$1.47 billion) last month, from NT$36.71 billion, according to TSMC’s statement. That was a 9 percent growth from April’s NT$40.5 billion.

TSMC is the world’s sole supplier of 28nm chips. Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Inc are using TSMC’s 28nm chips for their mobile devices.

United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), the world’s No. 2 contract chipmaker, yesterday posted its best monthly revenue in almost a year at NT$9.21 billion for last month. That was an about 2 percent decrease from NT$9.4 billion reached in May last year, or about a month-on-month growth of 9 percent from NT$9.12 billion in April.

“Their May sales are in line with our expectations,” said Rick Liu (劉浩民), a senior semiconductor industry analyst with KGI Securities Investment Advisory Co Ltd (凱基證券投顧).

“According to my review, their sales peak should be in July or August. However, month-on-month revenue growth in June and July should be smaller,” Liu said.

He expected the growth momentum to weaken next quarter as chip designers start cutting orders after completing inventory buildup.

That would mean that TSMC and UMC would see their revenues grow at least this month and next month from last month, raising the possibility that they would post a stronger revenue this quarter than their forecast in April suggested.

If TSMC posts a flat revenue this month from last month, revenue would reach NT$128.78 billion, exceeding NT$128 billion, the high-end of its target range of NT$128 billion that it forecast on April 24.

UMC forecast in April that wafer shipments would increase 15 percent quarterly, while average selling price would be flat this quarter from last quarter in US-dollar terms, meaning the chipmaker’s revenue would climb 15 percent, excluding foreign exchange rate factors.

On May 24, UMC chief executive Sun Shih-wei (孫世偉) said that the chipmaker would “hit its second-quarter financial forecast and continue to grow in the third quarter, which is a high season for the contract chip industry.”

Separately, the world’s biggest LCD TV chip designer, MStar Semiconductor Inc (晨星半導體), yesterday said revenue increased 3.6 percent year-on-year to NT$2.95 billion, from NT$2.85 billion a year ago, but that was a decline of 4.9 percent from April’s NT$3.11 billion.