Taipei-Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, on Wednesday reported its highest ever quarterly sales of NT$277.57 billion (US$9.38 billion) for the fourth quarter of last year, which market analysts attributed to solid global demand for chips made on the company's 10 nanometer process.
TSMC's consolidated sales of NT$277.57 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017 was not only a record for the company, but also a quarterly increase of 10.1 percent.
It also beat the company's earlier sales guidance of between US$9.1 billion and US$9.2 billion for the October to December period last year.
Analysts said that despite the slow season at that time of year for the global semiconductor industry, TSMC benefited from an increase in orders from Apple Inc. for the A11 processor, after the latest iPhone models were unveiled in September. TSMC is believed to be the sole supplier of the A11 processor, which is made on the 10nm process.
On the back of its strong fourth quarter sales, TSMC reported NT$977.45 billion in consolidated sales for 2017, a 3.1 percent annual increase and its highest yearly sales ever.
However, TSMC's sales are likely to drop by 5-10 percent in the first three months of 2018 from the previous quarter, but will return to quarterly growth for the rest of the year, pushing the company's annual revenue to more than NT$1 trillion, analysts said.
Meanwhile, United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) posted NT$36.63 billion in consolidated sales for the fourth quarter of 2017, a quarterly decline of 2.83 percent due to the slow season, although it reported strong demand for its 8-inch wafers.
In 2017, UMC's consolidated sales increased 0.96 percent from a year earlier to a record NT$149.28 billion.
On Wednesday, shares of TSMC and UMC fell 2.27 percent and 3.73 percent, respectively, on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, closing at NT$236.50, and NT$14.20, following a 0.97 percent drop of the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index on the U.S. market overnight.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel