TSMC 3rd quarter profits fall


TAIPEI: Chipmaking giant Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) said Thursday its third quarter profit fell 1.3 percent compared to same period a year ago amid sluggish demand for smartphones and computers.

Its net income in the three months through September slipped to Tw$75.33 billion ($2.3 billion), its first earnings decline in three years, according to Bloomberg News.

The world’s biggest contract microchip producer—which is known to be a supplier of Apple —is seeing earnings slip as it vies with regional rivals such as South Korea’s Samsung and Chinese firms in a weakening smartphone and electronics market globally.

“Due to a weaker global economy, a stronger US dollar environment and a volatile financial market, the electronic device market has been negatively impacted,” said co-Chief Executive Mark Liu.

An “unexpected” slowdown in the Chinese economy also dragged on demand, Liu said at an investor conference on Thursday.

Liu said the firm expects to see the global smartphone market expand by 10 percent this year, but forecasts no growth in the semiconductor industry because of a large build-up in inventories.

Revenue in the third quarter was up 1.7 percent year-on-year to Tw$212.51 billion,
exceeding an earlier forecast due to a stronger US dollar, the currency in which most of TSMC’s sales are denominated.

The company’s capital expenditure this year would amount to $8 billion, about $3 billion less than earlier expectations, said Chief Financial Officer Lora Ho.

The slash in spending was a surprise, analysts said, indicating concern about the outlook for next year because the cut affects expansion of TSMC’s facilities.

Global smartphone shipments are expected to increase 10.4 percent this year, significantly slower than the 27.5 percent growth in 2014, according to technology market researcher IDC.

Still, smartphones will continue to “provide momentum” for the next two to three years, especially in terms of the demand for silicon components used in high-end devices, said Liu. AFP


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