Top 2 foundry players saw lower-than-expected revenues for Nov.

Dec 10, 2003 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Electronics and Computers Ι By Ken, CENS
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Taipei, Dec. 10, 2003 (CENS)--Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) saw its November revenue, at NT$18.5 billion (US$544 million at US$1:NT$34), recess 8.8% from the October level while United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) raked in only 0.47% more revenue in the month.

TSMC and UMC are currently the world's No. 1 and No. 2 dedicated suppliers of built-to-order chips, respectively. They announced November revenues yesterday. Both results fell short of market expectations although TSMC said its results met its expectation.

TSMC's monthly revenue peaked in October at NT$20.3 billion (US$597 million) after hitting a historical high of NT$18.9 billion (US$556 million) in September. Although the November revenue shrank from October, it still showed an increase of 26.9% from the comparable period of last year. The company scored total revenue of NT$182.9 billion (US$5.3 billion) in the first 11 months of the year, surging 22.3% from NT$149.6 billion (US$4.4 billion) recorded one year earlier.

At an institutional investor conference, TSMC estimated its silicon-wafer shipments to rise 5%-9% this quarter over last quarter. Based on the projection, the company's fourth-quarter revenue is estimated at NT$57.5 billion-NT$58 billion (US$1.6 billion-US$1.7 billion) and its December revenue at NT$18.5 billion to NT$21 billion (US$544 million to US$617 million).

UMC reported November revenue of NT$7.7 billion (US$226 million), compared with October's 7.6 billion (US$225 million). The company projected to ship 10% more silicon wafers this quarter than last. Its third-quarter revenue was NT$21.5 billion (US$633.5 million) and its fourth-quarter revenue is estimated at NT$23.7 billion (US$697 million). Based on the projected fourth-quarter revenue, the company's December revenue is estimated at NT$8 billion (US$235 million) or so. In the first eleven months, the company had total revenue of NT$76.5 billion (US$2.2 billion), up 23.56% from the year-earlier period.

Fabless companies pointed out that the two chip-foundry players have reportedly decided to hike charges of their leading-edge services by 10% to 15% in the first quarter next year, considering that business will likely grow 5% next quarter from this quarter. So far this quarter, the two suppliers' capacity utilization rates have crossed 90% thanks to recovering business.
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