TAIPEI, Taiwan --Silicon foundry supplier United Microelectronics Corp. here today announced a 25.9% sequential drop in revenues during the first quarter of 2001, and it projected net sales would fall another 30% in the current quarter from Q1 as it struggles with weak market conditions.
UMC also said it is now projecting an increase in third-quarter foundry revenues from Q2, although no details were given about the amount of increased expected in the next three-month period, which starts June 30. The world's second largest pure-play silicon foundry company said it is holding steady with planned capital spending at $1.5 billion in 2001, the same as its fourth-quarter guidance.
"The first quarter results reflected the weakening economic environment as well as the abrupt end market inventory correction," noted John Hsuan, chairman of UMC. He added that UMC continues to emphasize investments in 0.13-micron and 300-mm wafer processing technologies during the current market slump.
In fact, UMC said a majority of its 2001 capital spending will go to 300-mm fabs and advanced copper-interconnect IC processes. UMC said it continues to expect to have a total "managed capacity" of 3.322 million eight-inch equivalent wafers by the end of the year, a 28% increase from 2.59 million in 2000.
UMC's projections show its 300-mm capacity ramping into volume during the fourth quarter of 2001, with two plants--Fab 12A in Taiwan and joint-venture Trecenti (with Hitachi Ltd.) in Japan--accounting for 100,000 eight-inch equivalent wafers in volume at the end of Q4 2001.
For the first quarter, UMC's net sales were NT$23.59 billion ($718 million), a decline of 25.9% from NT$31.85 billion ($970 million) in the fourth quarter of 2000, but a 22.2% increase from NT$19.31 billion ($588 million) in Q1 last year. UMC's net income declined 13.1% to NT$6.74 billion ($197 million) in the first quarter of 2001 from $NT$7.44 billion ($227 million) in Q1 of 2000.
UMC's first-quarter fab utilization stood at 61.7%, compared to 85.5% in Q4 of 2000. The company said it processed 443,000 eight-inch equivalent wafers out of an installed capacity of 718,000 wafers in the first quarter. UMC's wafer shipments fell 29.6% from 629,000 eight-inch equivalent substrates in Q4.
Average selling prices for UMC's wafers increased 2% due to a shift to more advanced processes. The company said 23% of its capacity was in 0.15- and 0.18-micron technologies in the first quarter compared to 17% in Q4.