| TAIPEI, Taiwan Taiwan's top two foundries reported further sequential sales declines for the first quarter on Thursday (April 7), in line with a slowdown that's settled across the industry this year. |
For United Microelectronics Corp. March sales dragged the quarter down to a point 20 percent behind where its sales were a year before, and the foundry foresees manufacturing capacity utilization dropping yet further to 60 percent in the first quarter.
For Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. sales dipped to $1.76 billion in the first quarter from $1.9 billion in the fourth quarter but it's the second quarterly sequential decline for TSMC.
The company said its fabs ran at 78 percent of capacity, and selling prices remained flat. Wafer shipments declined by a single-digit percentage point sequentially. That contrasts with capacity utilization of 88 percent in the fourth quarter of 2004, and 103 percent the quarter before.
TSMC noted a slight pickup at the end of the quarter, but not enough to match last year's sales.
"Due to higher wafer shipments, net sales for March 2005 increased by 2.4 percent compared to February 2005. On a year-over-year basis, net sales for March 2005 decreased 11.8 percent," said Lora Ho, TSMC vice president and chief financial officer.
TSMC's aggregate sales for the first quarter were NT$55.7 billion (about $1.76 billion) down 3.2 percent from NT$57.5 billion (about $1.83 billion) in the first quarter of 2004.
At UMC, the industry's second largest foundry, the story was worse, but not unexpected. Sales declined 27 percent from the fourth quarter, to $643 million. That's also the second quarterly decline for UMC, which saw sales drop 18 percent in the fourth quarter as utilization slowed to 72 percent. UMC is expecting a manufacturing capacity utilization to drop to 60 percent in the first quarter.
Year on year, sales at UMC were down about 20 percent, but March sales popped up by 14 percent compared to February. For the first quarter of 2005 UMC aggregated NT20.3 billion (about $643 million) down 19.9 percent compared with NT$25.3 billion (about $804 million) sold in Q1 2004.
Neither company provided an outlook for the second quarter.