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FBR tallies Q4 scores for pure-play fabs, assembly houses

Posted: 19 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:pure-play fabs? IC assembly houses? FBR Q4 winners?

Who are the winners and losers in the pure-play foundry and IC-assembly businesses in Q4 2007?

Winner: TSMC
Draw: Chartered
Losers: ASE, SMIC, SPIL, UMC

This is based on meeting FBR's performance targets in Q4. "Recent foundry checks indicate that because of some pull-ins in wafer shipment from Q1 into Q4, TSMC's overall wafer shipments in Q4 will increase by 5-6 percent [q-o-q], better than our early November call of 3-5 percent," said Mehdi Hosseini, an analyst with Friedman Billings Ramsey & Co. Inc. (FBR).

"However, we expect UMC and SMIC to miss and Chartered Semi to come in line with expectations," he said in a report.

Two IC-packaging and assembly providers are projected to have lackluster quarters. "What is also interesting to note is that Taiwan-based subcons Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. and Siliconware could miss Q4 revenue expectations, given their reported November monthly sales," he said.

Foundries up, down
On the foundry side, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd (TSMC) is projected to perform "better than expected" in Q4, according to the analyst.

"In particular, we note such large [TSMC] customers as ATI/AMD, ADI, Marvel, Nvidia and Qualcomm have all recently pulled in some shipment from Q1 into Q4," he said. "Demand by such communication-centric customers as CSR, Freescale, Mediatek and Texas Instruments have remained weak, with some actually cutting orders over the past several weeks."

However, Q1 2008 looks weak for TSMC. "Current forecasts indicate Q1 08 wafer shipments will be down 8 percent, worse than seasonally down 5 percent," he said.

Rival United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) is on the opposite end of the scale in Q4. "UMC's overall wafer shipment in Q4 07 has recently been revised down from a [q-o-q] decline of 9 percent to 10 percent-plus, driven by downward revision by such communication centric customers as Mediatek, Realtek and Texas Instruments," he said.

"Current forecasts indicate wafer shipment in Q1 08 will also be down in the range of 8 percent," he said. "One exception among UMC's customer mix is Xilinx , where our checks indicate wafer shipment growth in both Q4 07 and Q1 08."

Singapore's Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Pte. Ltd. is projected to see a decline of 3 percent in terms of sequential wafer shipments in Q4 of 2007 and minus 3-5 percent in Q1 of 2008, according to FBR. There is no change in Chartered's forecast.

China's Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (SMIC) is projected to see an increase of 5-8 percent in terms of sequential wafer shipments in Q4 2007 and minus 10 percent in Q1 2008, according to FBR. There is no change in SMIC's Q1 2008 forecast.

There is a slight change in Q4 2007, where SMIC was supposed to see an increase of 5-10 percent, according to the report.

Subcons down
What about IC-assembly firms like ASE and Siliconware? "Taiwan subcons likely to miss Q4 revenue expectations," he said. "Same customers cutting orders at foundries also reducing orders at subcons."

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times




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