UMC beats Q4 forecasts

Foundry business picks up

UMC, the world's second largest chip foundry, sold NT$23.7 billion ($698 million) worth of chips during the fourth quarter of its 2003 fiscal year, 35.3 per cent more than it managed during the same period a year ago.

And the foundry's quarterly revenues were up 10.1 per cent on Q3's total.

UMC beat its own income expectations, with the quarter yielding a net profit NT$6.7 billion ($201 million) up 582.3 per cent on the same period last year. Earnings hit NT$0.44 (1.3 cents) a share. Operating income rose 1158 per cent to NT$4.2 billion ($126 million).

UMC's average utilisation rate roes to 96 per cent during Q4, up from 84 per cent in Q3. Output was driven by strong demand from customers in the communications arena - they accounted for 38 per cent of the foundry's sales.

For 2003 as a whole, UMC saw net profits double to $NT14 billion ($420 million) on sales up 25.9 per cent to NT$84.9 billion ($2.6 billion).

Looking ahead, UMC expects to spend $2.1 billion on plant this year, using the investment to triple its 300mm capacity to 30,000 wafers a month by the end of the year and boost overall capacity by 16 per cent. ®