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TSMC April sales hit new high on 28nm process chips

TAIPEI--Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC,台積電) said that its consolidated sales for April hit a fresh monthly high on the back of strong demand for chips made on the company's 28 nanometer process.

Market analysts noted that as the world's telecom operators are gearing up to provide 4G services, smartphone sales remained strong to push up demand for chips. TSMC, which has taken the lead over its peers in the 28nm technology, is benefiting from the uptrend, they said.

The world's largest contract chipmaker in April posted NT$61.89 billion (US$2.06 billion) in consolidated sales, up 23.9 percent from a month earlier and 23.6 percent from a year earlier.

In the first four months of this year, TSMC's consolidated sales rose 14.9 percent from a year ago to NT$210.10 billion.

“The month-on-month sales growth in April was very impressive, indicating that TSMC, as has been forecast, is riding the wave of solid demand for its sophisticated process at a time when smartphone vendors have intensified efforts to upgrade their devices,” Ta Ching Securities analyst Andy Hsu said.

“As the global semiconductor business is staging a rebound in the second quarter, I think there is no doubt that TSMC will achieve its sales target for the second quarter and even surpass the goal,” Hsu said.

In an investor conference held in mid-April, TSMC expected its consolidated sales for the April-June period to range between NT$180 billion and NT$183 billion, up 21.5-23.5 percent from the first quarter.

The chip-maker said the second quarter gross margin could hit 47.5-49.5 percent, compared with the first quarter's 47.5 percent, while its operating margin for the current quarter could range between 36.5 percent and 38.5 percent, compared with 35.4 percent seen in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, rival United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC, 聯電) said its consolidated sales for April rose 2.11 percent from a month earlier to NT$11.53 billion, the highest level since July 2013, when sales hit NT$11.58 billion. The growth largely reflected rising demand for chips used in communications devices, analysts said.

In the first four months of this year, UMC's consolidated sales rose 13.56 percent from a year earlier to NT$43.22 billion.

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