TAIPEI, Taiwan United Microelectronics Corp. finished 2001 with a dismal fourth quarter, when sales dropped nearly 40 percent and pre-tax losses totaled $180 million.
The only good news gleaned from the company's short statement Thursday (Jan. 31) was that it had narrowed its pre-tax losses in the fourth quarter to $131 million, from $149 million in the third quarter. The company offered no guidance on its capital expenditure plans for 2002 or its expectations for the coming quarters. It will do that next week at an investor conference.
UMC started the year with a first-quarter profit of $196 million, but has been in the red ever since. More of the same is expected during the beginning of this year. Last month, a UMC official told EE Times that sales in the first quarter would be flat or slightly down due to the traditional slow season.
Last week, foundry rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said profits slid 79 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to a year ago, but the foundry said business continues to improve. Even so, it will cut capital spending by 25 percent this year.
Earlier this week, Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Corp. also reported a yearly net loss of $384 million. Sales totaled $462.7 million in 2001, down 58 percent from $1.1 billion in 2000. Chartered expects another loss of about $136 million this quarter on relatively flat sales.
At TSMC, sales rose 10 percent quarter on quarter, to $942 million and profit more than tripled to $128 million. Year-on-year profit fell 78 percent, to $400 million.
UMC's sales were $1.8 billion in 2001, down from $3.1 billion in 2000.