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TSMC's Q1 sales go beyond expectations

TAIPEI -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chip maker, on Thursday reported strong first quarter sales that exceeded its forecast, on rising demand for chips on the advanced 28 nanometer process.

In the January-March period, TSMC's consolidated sales totaled NT$148.22 billion (US$4.94 billion), up 1.65 percent from the fourth quarter and 11.7 percent from the previous year.

The first quarter figure was higher than TSMC's sales target of NT$147 billion, which was set in March when it revised its January forecast of a 5-7 percent quarterly drop in first quarter sales to between NT$136 billion and NT$138 billion.

Market analysts said TSMC's latest sales data showed that the company was affected little by the usual slow season for the global integrated circuit industry in the first quarter.

In March alone, TSMC's consolidated sales totaled NT$49.96 billion, up 6.7 percent from the previous month and 13.2 percent year-on-year.

TSMC Chairman Morris Chang had forecast in March that the global semiconductor industry would rebound strongly in the second quarter after inventory adjustments in the previous two quarters.

As a leader in the global semiconductor foundry business, TSMC is expected to benefit from that uptrend in the second quarter, Chang said.

TSMC is scheduled to release its first quarter results and give its second quarter sales guidance at an investor conference on April 17.

Meanwhile, its competitor United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) on Wednesday posted a more than 3 percent sequential increase in consolidated sales for the first quarter, largely on a falling Taiwan dollar and demand for 8-inch wafers. UMC's sales totaled NT$31.69 billion, up 14.08 percent from a year earlier.

In March, UMC's consolidated sales hit an eight-month high of NT$11.29 billion, up 9.16 percent from a month earlier and 17.61 percent year-on-year.

UMC has tentatively scheduled an investor conference for April 30 to release its first quarter results.

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