Despite a slow season for the global integrated circuit industry, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, ???), the world's largest contract chip maker, said that its sales for the fourth quarter of last year hit a new high in the company's history.
Market analysts attributed the growth to solid global demand for smartphone and graphics chips, which offset the impact of slow-season effects.
In the fourth quarter, TSMC posted NT$262.23 billion (US$8.22 billion) in consolidated sales for the October-December period, up 0.7 percent from a quarter earlier. The fourth quarter sales beat the company's previous estimate of between NT$255 billion and NT$258 billion.
On the back of the strong fourth-quarter performance, TSMC's consolidated sales for the whole of 2016 also hit a record high of NT$947.94 billion, up 12.4 percent from a year earlier.
The 2016 figure also beat TSMC's forecast, which had said that its revenue for the year would rise 11 percent-12 percent from a year earlier.
In December alone, TSMC posted NT$78.11 billion in consolidated sales, a low since July 2016, when the figure stood at NT$76.39 billion, as its customers scaled back their orders to clear their inventories as the year approached an end, analysts said.
The December sales were down 16 percent from a month earlier, but were up 33.9 percent from a year earlier. Since TSMC posted more than NT$90 billion in sales in October and November, the low December figure did not affect its performance for the fourth quarter, analysts said.
TSMC released the December sales figure after the local equity market closed.
Due to cautious market sentiment ahead of the release of the sales report, shares of TSMC, the most heavily weighted stock in the local market, closed unchanged at NT$184.00 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange Tuesday, when the weighted index edged up 0.08 percent at the close.
The chip maker has scheduled an investor conference for Thursday to detail its fourth-quarter results and give guidance for the first quarter. Since the first quarter remains a slow season for the IC industry, analysts expect that TSMC will post a single-digit sequential fall in sales for the January-March period.
But, for the entire 2017, analysts said, TSMC is expected to continue to report a record high of more than NT$1 trillion in consolidated sales on the back of the lead over its peers in high-end technology applications, the analysts added.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel