TSMC sales rise as virus infection has little effect

STAYING IN LEAD::Analysts have said the increase in last month’s sales reflected strong demand for chips made on the firm’s advanced 7-nanometer process

Staff writer, with CNA

Tue, Sep 11, 2018 - Page 12

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, saw little effect from a computer virus attack early last month. It yesterday reported that sales for the month rose more than 22 percent from July.

TSMC posted NT$91.06 billion (US$2.95 billion) in consolidated sales last month, up 22.4 percent from a month earlier.

Last month’s figure was the second-highest this year, trailing NT$103.70 billion in March.

However, last month’s sales were down 0.9 percent from a year earlier.

In the first eight months of this year, TSMC’s consolidated sales totaled NT$646.78 billion, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier.

The latest revenue data eased investor worries over the effects of a virus attack that hit TSMC factories in Taiwan on Aug. 3, which prompted almost all of its production lines to grind to a halt before returning to full production on Aug. 6.

After the attack, TSMC denied it was caused by a hacker, but said it occurred when a new tool was connected to the company’s computer network without having been isolated and checked for viruses.

On Aug. 6, TSMC forecast that the incident could cause third-quarter sales to fall by less than 2 percent.

At an investor’s conference in the middle of July, TSMC guidance said its third-quarter sales would be between US$8.28 billion and US$8.38 billion with a medium figure of US$8.33 billion, up about 6 percent from a quarter earlier.

Market analysts said the increase in last month’s sales reflected strong demand for chips made on TSMC’s advanced 7-nanometer process, which started production in the first half of the year.

Analysts said the process is expected to continue to serve as a driver for TSMC’s sales growth for the rest of the third quarter.

After California-based Globalfoundries Inc last month announced it was shelving its 7-nanometer technology development, TSMC is expected to cement its lead over peers to secure more orders in the global market, analysts said.

Based on TSMC’s third-quarter sales guidance, its revenue this month could be between NT$87.1 billion and NT$90.2 billion, analysts said.