September 11, 2012 – Taiwan’s two biggest semiconductor foundries saw sales jump in August, and business for the full third quarter is looking up as customers pull in some orders.
TSMC’s August sales were about NT $48.9 billion (US $1.63B), up about 2% from July but up 32% from a year ago. Through 2012 so far, TSMC’s sales are up about 16% from Jan-Aug 2011. The company says its entire 3Q11 sales will be "slightly higher" than its guidance of ~7% growth (NT$136-138B) it issued in July, citing primarily "pull-in of certain customers’ shipments and better-than-expected mask revenue."
Sales at UMC, meanwhile were also up about 2% month-on-month to NT $9.8B (roughly US $327.0M), nearly 20% higher than August 2011, and their highest since Dec. 2010. For the year so far, though (Jan-Aug.), UMC’s sales are off about 3% from last year’s pace. The company currently predicts "mild revenue growth" in 3Q12 with a "marginal" increase in both wafer shipments and ASPs. As with TSMC, industry watchers agree that customers are jockeying for an early ramp to the traditionally strong fall build-up for holiday electronics sales.
(Note that we’re no longer calling TSMC and UMC "the world’s top two foundries" anymore — that’s because GlobalFoundries passed UMC for No.2 in foundry sales earlier this year, and is expected to remain there.)