Mon, Aug 06, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Virus attack will delay shipments, TSMC says

‘SECURITY GAP’:The estimated losses announced by the company exceeded industry watchers’ guesses and might inhibit an upturn in the company’s stock price

By Chen Cheng-hui  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) yesterday said a virus attack on some of its fabs on Friday evening would delay its shipments and increase production costs this quarter, but added that the delays would be recovered next quarter.

“TSMC expects the incident to cause shipment delays and additional costs. We estimate the effect on third-quarter revenue to be about 3 percent, and on gross margin to be about 1 percentage point,” the world’s largest contract chipmaker said in a statement.

“The company is confident that the shipments delayed in the third quarter will be recovered in the fourth quarter of 2018 and maintains its forecast of high-single-digit revenue growth for 2018 in US dollar” terms, it said.

TSMC at an earnings conference on July 19 forecast that revenue this quarter would increase about 8.2 percent quarter-on-quarter to between US$8.45 billion and US$8.55 billion, compared with US$7.85 billion last quarter.

The company’s estimated loss ranges from US$253.5 million to US$256.5 million, while gross margin is expected to be between 47 and 49 percent this quarter, compared with its earlier guidance of 48 to 50 percent.

The estimates are much larger than the NT$2 billion to NT$3 billion (US$65.1 million to US$97.7 million) reported by local Chinese-language media based on their surveys of industry watchers.

If realized, the losses could cap the upturn in the company’s shares, which have advanced 15.15 percent over the past 30 trading sessions.

TSMC shares on Friday closed at NT$247 in Taipei trading.

However, the Hsinchu-based company reiterated that it has contained the virus and found a solution.

As of 2pm yesterday, about 80 percent of its affected fab tools had been recovered, TSMC said, adding that it expects a full recovery by today.

TSMC said it has notified most of its customers about the incident.

The company counts Apple Inc, Nvidia Inc, Qualcomm Inc, MediaTek Inc (聯發科) and Hisilicon Technologies Co (海思半導體) as its major clients.

“The company is working closely with customers on their wafer delivery schedule. The details will be communicated with each customer individually over the next few days,” it said.

TSMC operates three 12-inch, four 8-inch and one 6-inch wafer plants in Taiwan, a 12-inch and an 8-inch plant in China, and an 8-inch plant in the US.

The virus attack affected a number of its computer systems and fab tools at plants in Taiwan, with the degree of infection varying from plant to plant, it said.

Due to speculation about the incident — such as the kind of virus, its source and the type of tools affected — TSMC yesterday made an announcement, although the information it disclosed might not answer every question.

“The virus infection occurred due to misoperation during software installation for a new tool, which caused the virus to spread to the company’s computer network once the tool was connected,” TSMC said.

“Data integrity and confidential information were not compromised. TSMC has taken actions to close this security gap and further strengthen its security measures,” it said.

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