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TSMC reports record Q3 despite Sept. sales decline

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's biggest made-to-order contract chip-maker, yesterday reported record sales for the third quarter, although it and other foundry operators posted sales declines last month.

The sales declines were caused by several factors, including inventory adjustment measures by clients and the fact the industry has entered a slow season, operators said.

TSMC yesterday reported September sales of NT$43.353 billion, down 12.4 percent from August and the lowest monthly sales in five months.

For the third quarter, the company had consolidated sales of NT$141.375 billion, surpassing the firm's own target of between NT$136 billion and NT$138 billion and a quarterly increase of 10.4 percent. The figure was the firm's highest quarterly sales ever.

Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp., a reinvestment company of TSMC, yesterday reported September sales of NT$1.462 billion, a decline of 12.03 percent and also the lowest monthly revenue in five months. The firm had third quarter sales of NT$4.707 billion, a rise of 3.4 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis and beating market expectations by a slight margin.

United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), meanwhile, had September sales of NT$9.113 billion, a decline of 7 percent from August and the lowest in six months. For the July-September period, UMC had sales of NT$28.525 billion, a rise of 3.27 percent quarter-on-quarter and in keeping with market expectations.

As for the future, the three may see fourth-quarter sales drop from the third quarter, due to a slowdown in the industry, experts said.

Chang's downbeat sentiment

Separately, Morris Chang, chairman and CEO of TSMC, has expressed a downbeat view over the next two quarters, due to clients' inventory adjustment efforts.

Chang made those remarks during an interview with CNN.

He said that compared to the United States, China, Europe and Japan, Taiwan is at the latter portion of the supply chain and is more vulnerable to inventory adjustment.

Inventory reached a peak in the third quarter and may be subject to adjustment in the fourth quarter of 2012 and the first quarter of next year, he said.

“The main point is whether there will be a macroeconomic improvement,” Chang said. “As long as the macroeconomic situation does not deteriorate, the semiconductor industry will turn around starting in the second quarter of next year.”

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