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Integrated circuit firms expected to see slower sales in Q4: experts

Semiconductor companies are expected to give weaker performances in the current quarter compared to last, as the fourth quarter is traditionally a slow season for the information technology industry, said experts yesterday.

All eyes will be watching what their outlooks for the future will be as they hold their investors' conferences, which will take place starting this week.

Elan Microelectronics and Holtek Semiconductor, respectively maker of touch screen chips and micro-controller units, will lead the pack in holding their quarterly investors' meets tomorrow, which will then be followed by the meetings held by memory chipmakers Nanya Technology and Inotera on Wednesday.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chip-maker, will hold its conference Thursday, as will be Ali Corp., which makes chips for set-top boxes.

Power management chipmaker Advanced Analog Technology, IC designer Faraday Technology, memory maker Winbond and independent device manufacturer Nuvoton Technology will hold their meetings on Friday.

MediaTek, which designs chips for mobile devices, will give its investors' conference on Oct. 30, followed by United Microelectronics Corp., the world's second largest contract chipmaker which will hold its meeting on Oct. 31.

According to experts, most integrated circuit (IC) manufacturers will give weaker performances during this current quarter compared to last, as the fourth quarter has always been a slow season. The slowness will come despite the launch of various new products, including new notebooks, smart devices and the Windows 8 operating system.

A fourth-quarter decline is predicted for Elan, Holtek, Advanced Analog, Faraday, Nuvoton and MediaTek. Among them, Faraday is expected to see fourth-quarter sales drop 10 percent compared to the previous quarter, a margin bigger than the market average for this time of the year, experts said.

Nuvoton expects the fourth quarter to be slow, as weak demands from China have caused clients to delay orders, the firm said.

MediaTek, on the other hand, is expected to perform better as a replacement cycle in China may drive demands in the smart phone sector. Whether the firm will increase its shipment target for this year will be a focus for investors.

Holtek has also given a positive outlook for the fourth quarter, due to rush orders it recently received. Realtek has expressed optimism for the October-December period, due to orders from the multimedia and tablet PC sectors that the firm has placed a stronger focus on.

Experts meanwhile have given mixed views for Elan. Some expect the firm to see fourth-quarter sales drop within 10 percent from the third, while some expect the margin to be more than 10 percent.

As for TSMC and UMC, sales for the current quarter are expected to decline from the third quarter, on inventory adjustment efforts by clients. Investors will also focus their attention on what the firms will say about their 28-nanometer technology development and the economy next year.

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