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Local IC firms forecast to give positive Q3 outlook

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Taiwan's major integrated circuit manufacturers are likely to give positive leads for the third quarter at their investor conferences that start next week, market analysts said Saturday, citing the expected launch of new mobile devices in the second half of the year.

After inventory adjustments in the previous two quarters, the global semiconductor business staged a solid rebound in the second quarter, a trend that analysts said is expected to continue for the rest of the year.

On July 16, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest semiconductor foundry operator, will kick of the series of investor conferences by Taiwanese IC firms.

TSMC posted NT$183.02 billion (US$6.12 billion) in consolidated sales in the second quarter, up 23.48 percent from the previous quarter and beating its earlier estimate of between NT$180 billion and NT$183 billion.

Last month, TSMC Chairman Morris Chang said the company is expected to see even higher sales growth in the third quarter as it has been at full production capacity to meet strong demand.

He said TSMC is unlikely to be affected much by the slow season effects in the fourth quarter because it has a competitive edge in high-end technology.

Analysts have forecast that TSMC will issue an upbeat guidance for the third quarter as it has secured orders from Apple Inc. ahead of the launch of the next generation of iPhones in September. They have projected a 15 percent sequential increase in TSMC sales in the July-September period.

At the investor conference, TSMC is also expected to detail its efforts to develop chips on the advanced 16 nanometer and 10nm processes and announce its capital expenditure for 2015.

The chip maker's capex for 2014 is likely to be US$9.5 billion-US$10 billion as it is seeking to strengthen its high-end technology and plans to begin mass production of chips on the 16nm process early next year.

Meanwhile United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) will hold its investor conference July 30, detailing its data for shipments of chips on the 28nm and the progress of its 14nm technology, analysts said.

MediaTek Inc., one of Taiwan's leading IC designers, is expected to give an optimistic outlook for the third quarter at its July 31 investor conference. The company has launched an octa-core 4G smartphone chip to cater to the growing China market, which is in the process of developing its 4G network.

Analysts said MediaTek is likely to post a 14 percent sequential increase in sales for the third quarter.

Two local DRAM makers, Inotera Memories Inc. and Nanya Technology Corp., will give briefings on how long their tight supplies will last, when they meet with investors July 29, analysts said.

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