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Chartered to report flat Q2; TSMC looks better off

Posted: 13 Jun 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:foundry growth forecast? fab revenues? Chartered TSMC Q2 shipments?

Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Pte Ltd does not expect to see much of a revenue boost for the April-June period, while Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) looks like it's better off.

Chartered has reiterated its Q2 guidance, saying it was on track to see wafer shipments grow by 15 percent. In its original Q2 guidance issued in April, the Singapore foundry said it expected growth from several customers and applications. However, lower shipments of 90nm wafers to the PC segment will hurt revenue growth and put a crimp on profitability.

Chartered's revenues are expected to stagnate at around $323 million as the average selling price per wafer declines at least 12 percent, and as much as 16 percent. Utilization will hover around 77 percent.

Over at TSMC, the picture is brighter but not brilliant. Just one week after a positive update, FBR Research put out another note saying TSMC will exceed its expectations. It says Q2 wafer shipments could "come in at the high end of our already-revised expectations of up 15-17 percent, versus expectations of up to 14-15 percent from April."

For Q2, TSMC said revenue would increase to between $2.21 billion and $2.27 billion.

Growth is being driven by communications chips, PC chipsets, gaming and memory.

"Our recent checks confirm our original view that TSMC's capex in CY08 could potentially increase by as much as 10-15 percent [year on year], primarily driven by 65nm and 45nm capacity obligation to customers [existing and new ones]," the research note said.

Despite the upward drive, ASPs aren't expected to change much. FBR said TSMC could boost its margins by adding more 200mm wafer capacity based on the purchase of used equipment.

Earlier last week, an analyst at CLSA Asia Pacific Markets suggested that TSMC is in talks with Hynix Semiconductor Inc. to buy a mega-fab in South Korea and convert it to logic production.

In its research note, FBR added that with Q2 wafer starts up to 18-20 percent on quarter, it is possible that Q3 shipments could jump another 14-16 percent versus earlier expectations of 12-14 percent. "Communication is considered the strongest end market in Q2 and computing the strongest in Q3," FBR said.

In its latest chip forecast, Gartner revised its 2007 semiconductor growth forecast from 6.4 percent down to just 2.5 percent this year. The market watcher estimates compound growth in chips over the next five years at 5.1 percent.

- Mike Clendenin
EE Times

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