HSINCHU, Taiwan Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), the world's two largest wafer fabs recorded strong growth of sales in March. Although the figures followed a slow February, which covered the Chinese new year holiday period, the gains versus March a year before suggested an upbeat second quarter for 2003, observers said.
TSMC's net sales for March 2003 were about $397.2 million up, 12.2 percent over the previous month and up 12.8 percent on a year-on-year basis. TSMC's sales revenue for the first quarter of 2003 was about $1.13 billion, an increase of 9.9 percent over the same period in 2002.
UMC's sales in March were about $202 million, up 29.7 percent from February 2003 and up 55.1% from the same month a year before. For the first quarter of 2003 UMC sales were about $513 million up 47.2 percent from the first quarter of 2002.
"TSMC's revenue has clearly touched bottom in t he first quarter of 2003. The revenue growth for March 2003 was mainly due to increased wafer shipments and increased demand for advanced technologies, including the company's 0.13-micron process technology," said Harvey Chang, chief financial officer at TSMC, in a statement. Chang added that the monthly sales for the second quarter of 2003 are expected to increase sequentially.
According to reports, TSMC was closer to the top end of the expected range of its March sales while UMC was well in excess of its expected sales.
Although industry executives have spoken of an expected rebound during 2003 similar rebound hopes were held in 2002 before they eventually disappeared in a second-half dip.
In their announcing their March sales figures neither TSMC nor UMC mentioned any likely impact on sales from U.S. military activity in Iraq or the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) a potentially deadly flu-like virus that has recently hit China and Singapore.