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Taiwanese chip foundry UMC bucked the traditional Q4-to-Q1 sales downturn with a sequential sales gain leading to booming income figures, the company reported today.

For the three months to 31 March, UMC's sales totalled NT$25.33bn ($765.30m), up 6.8 per cent on the previous quarter and 41.5 per cent on the same period last year.

Net income for the quarter came to NT$6.89bn ($208.42m) up 1610.7 per cent on Q1 2003's NT$403m ($12.19m) but up just 2.5 per cent on the previous quarter's income of NT$6.73bn ($203.49m).

"This performance not only beat our original forecast but also was significantly stronger than the seasonal pattern we have seen for the past few years," CEO Jackson Hu said in a statement.

Like its arch-rival, TSMC, UMC benefited from booming chip prices, driven up by strong demand and tight supply.

180nm products remain UMC's mainstay, the company's figures reveal, accounting for 29 per cent of its business. Its 130nm process makes up just 12 per cent of sales, dwarfed by both 250nm (19 per cent) and 350nm (21 per cent) products.

Communications products form the bulk of UMC's output - 42 per cent of it during Q1, up from 38 per cent in the previous quarter. Consumer and computer-oriented products dipped slightly to 30 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively, of UMC's business.

During Q1, North America became UMC's key market (43 per cent of sales), pushing Asia-Pacific into second place (37 per cent). Europe and Japan remained low-key customers with 16 per cent and four per cent of UMC's business, respectively. ®

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TSMC income booms on flat sales
UMC beats Q4 forecasts
TSMC, UMC post upbeat Q3 figures

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