Taiwan Semicon: Q1 2001 to be a bit of a downer

TSMC's Q4 2000 was very good, though

The Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company has become the latest chip outfit to offer a gloomy outlook for the coming year. Yesterday, it admitted it is anticipating below-par earnings for the current quarter, the first of fiscal 2001.

The warning follows a record Q4. For the three months to 31 December 2000, TSMC recorded profits of NT$21.47 billion ($662 million), up 159 per cent year-on-year.

Gross margin increased five per cent to 46 per cent. TSMC's utilisation rate hit 100 per cent during the quarter.

Sales for the period was up 127 per cent on year-ago quarter. Sales totalled NT$53.82 billion ($1.66 billion).

For the year as a whole, sales hit NT$166.2 billion ($5.12 billion), up 127 per cent on 1999. Net income was up 165.1 per cent to NT$65.1 billion ($2 billion) year on year.

But despite the growth TSMC saw during 2000, the company's outlook for 2001 is pessimistic. It expects margins to plummet nearly half to 24 per cent and utilisation to fall to 70 per cent of its total capacity.

The good news is that the company expects a recovery around March/April. It won't be enough to lift its Q1 figures, but should improve Q2's numbers. ®

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