TSMC chip plans blocked by environmental review

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Jan 23, 2015 - Page 14

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co’s (TSMC, 台積電) new investments in advanced 16-nanometer (nm) and 10nm technologies were thwarted again as a development project was suspended in the third environmental review on Wednesday.

However, the company might engage a backup plan to build new advanced factories in Southern Taiwan Science Park if its investment plan makes no progress in the Central Taiwan Science Park, TSMC chief financial officer Lora Ho (何麗梅) told reporters last week.

TSMC, which supplies microprocessors for Apple Inc’s iPhone 6 series, was reportedly planning to invest NT$500 billion (US$15.9 billion) on building new 16nm and 10nm capacities in central Taiwan over the next few years.

The Central Taiwan Science Park Administration said that it expects TSMC’s new investments to create 7,000 jobs and generate NT$300 billion in revenue after operations begin in 2019.

The company has been asked to submit more supplementary information for an air pollution evaluation and health risk assessment after it failed the five-hour review on Wednesday.

The chipmaker plans to spend a record US$12 billion this year — mostly on 16nm and 10nm technologies — to safeguard its market share.

TSMC is scheduled to ramp up production of 16nm chips in the third quarter this year, with its 10nm technology likely to enter volume production in 2017.

TSMC shares fell 0.71 percent yesterday to close at NT$140 in Taipei trading, underperforming the TAIEX, which rose 0.53 percent.

UBS Securities Ltd has a “buy” rating on TSMC shares, with a target share price of NT$180, implying another 28.57 percent upside in the next 12 months.

“We believe TSMC’s share price this year will be supported by increasing Apple business; the expectation of a larger cash dividend; rising book value valuation; and improving profitability,” UBS said in a note on Wednesday.