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May 30, 2017

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Shares of UMC up on high-end technology process, Q2 sales hopes

TAIPEI--Shares of United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC, 聯電) moved higher Thursday morning on expectations that the advanced 28 nanometer process will strengthen the contract chip maker's bottom line in the second half of this year and beyond, dealers said.

As the global semiconductor sector is staging a rebound in the second quarter of this year after inventory adjustments in the previous two quarters, investors tended to buy into chip makers such as UMC, which have underperformed the broader market with relatively low valuations, the dealers said.

As of 11:12 a.m., shares of UMC, the second-largest wafer foundry operator in Taiwan after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, 台積電), had added 1.38 percent to NT$14.70 (US$0.49), with 57.18 million shares changing hands.

The weighted index on the Taiwan Stock Exchange was down 0.26 percent at 9,205.75 points.

"As UMC gave a positive guidance on the sales contribution from the 28nm process yesterday, it was no surprise that investors rushed to pick up the stock soon after the local bourse opened," Hua Nan Securities analyst Kevin Su said.

Orders from Heavyweight Client

"To my knowledge, UMC has secured orders from heavyweight clients such as U.S.-based Qualcomm Inc. and Taiwan's MediaTek Inc. for chips made on its 28nm technology to meet rising chip demand for mobile device use," Su said.

On the sidelines of UMC's annual general meeting held a day earlier, Chief Financial Officer Chitung Liu said he expects that chips made on the 28nm process will account for 1 percent of the company's total sales in the second quarter and that the percentage is likely to rise to more than 5 percent in the fourth quarter.

UMC only launched mass production of the 28nm process in the fourth quarter of last year, and the technology made up less than 1 percent of the its total sales in the first quarter of this year.

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