MIGDAL HAEMEK, Israel--Tower Semiconductor Ltd. today raised its second-quarter forecast for silicon foundry revenues to at least a 35% sequential increase from $8.4 million in the first quarter of this year. Earlier this month, the Israeli chip foundry posted $12 million loss, including expenses for a new wafer fab, on sequentially lower revenues in Q1 (see May 2 story).
Tower Semiconductor said it was increasing its guidance for Q2 because orders throughout the current quarter are higher than expected. In addition, the foundry company said it expects a moderate growth rate to continue throughout the second half of 2002. Tower's Q1 revenues were 60% below $21.1 million in the first quarter last year, and 4.5% sequentially lower than $8.8 million in Q4 of 2001.
"In line with the current improvement in the semiconductor market, Fab 1 utilization rates continue to rise," said co -CEO Yoav Nissan-Cohen, who did not provide details on the capacity utilization rate in a statement issued today. "In addition, our Fab 2 proceeds on schedule, enabling Tower to take full advantage of the coming upturn in the market."
Tower, along with other silicon foundries, has been seeing a sharp increase in wafer-processing demand since the start of 2002. Larger foundries in Asia have begun increasing their capital spending plans for 2002 in anticipation of a full recovery later this year or early 2003.
Israel's Tower is now is now prototyping 0.18-micron products in its new 200-mm (8-inch) wafer fab, which has been built adjacent to its existing Fab 1 facility. When fully completed, Fab 2 will offer 0.18-micron and below process technologies, produce up to 33,000 eight-inch wafers per month and employ approximately 1,100 people, said Tower.