Foundry sales soar amid demand for smartphones

POSITIVE OUTLOOK::Analysts have forecast continued revenue growth for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co on strong demand for smartphones and tablets in China

By Kevin Chen  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jun 11, 2013 - Page 14

The nation’s foundries yesterday reported strong sales last month, which analysts said were due to strong demand for chips used in smartphones and other mobile devices.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the word’s largest contract chipmaker, saw sales hit an all-time high last month, while smaller rivals United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電) and Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp (世界先進) both saw sales reach their highest level so far this year.

TSMC said in a statement that sales last month grew 3.4 percent to NT$51.79 billion (US$1.72 billion) from April and were up 17.2 percent from the same month last year.

In the first five months of the year, accumulated revenue totaled NT$234.61 billion, up 23.3 percent year-on-year, TSMC said.

The Hsinchu-based chipmaker in April said it expected revenue for this quarter to increase by between 16 percent and 17.5 percent to between NT$154 billion and NT$156 billion.

Analysts have predicted TSMC’s revenue growth to continue next quarter due to strong short-term wafer demand driven by demand for smartphones and tablets in China, as well as inventory buildup for Intel Corp’s Hasswell processor and Apple Inc’s new products.

Goldman Sachs analyst Donald Lu (呂東風) forecast TSMC’s revenue for next quarter will rise 9 percent quarter-on-quarter, while Credit Suisse analyst Randy Abrams attributed TSMC’s strong growth to its leadership in advanced 28-nanometer process technology.

UMC, the world’s No. 3 contract chipmaker, yesterday said its sales last month hit the highest level this year.

The firm said in a separate statement that consolidated revenue rose 5.66 percent to NT$10.86 billion from April and was up 5.18 percent from May last year.

From January to last month, combined revenue totaled NT$48.93 billion, a rise of 4.17 percent from a year earlier, UMC said.

The company told investors last month that it expected revenue for this quarter to increase by between 12 percent and 14 percent from last quarter’s NT$26.37 billion.

“Total wafer shipments of TSMC and UMC are likely to exceed the historical trend line in the second quarter and potentially also in the third quarter,” Lu said in a note on May 28.

“We expect UMC’s wafer shipments to increase in the third quarter, driven by strong LCD IC demand and spillover 12-inch [wafer] orders from TSMC,” Lu said.

Separately, smaller foundry operator Vanguard International said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday that sales increased 3 percent to NT$1.78 billion last month from April and were up 16.41 percent from May last year. It added that accumulated sales totaled NT$8.29 billion in the first five months, up 36.72 percent year-on-year.

Last month, Vanguard said it expected an increase of between 11 percent and 13 percent in wafer shipments this quarter, compared with last quarter on the back of strong demand for mobile devices.

UBS Securities analyst Samson Hung (洪希民) forecast Vanguard’s sales will increase by about 10 percent from last quarter’s NT$4.79 billion.

Additional reporting by Lisa Wang and Crystal Hsu