LONDON Ė October sales at leading foundry Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. were up sequentially and year-on-year defying predictions of a sharp slowdown in the fourth quarter that will last into the first quarter of 2013, made earlier this year by company chairman and CEO Morris Chang.
On an unconsolidated basis, net sales were approximately NT$49.28 billion (about $1.70 billion), an increase of 15.1 percent over September 2012 and an increase of 32.3 percent over October 2011. Revenues on an unconsolidated basis for January through October 2012 totaled NT$419.67 billion (about $14.45 billion), an increase of 19.1 percent compared to the same period in 2011.
On a consolidated basis, net sales for October 2012 were approximately NT$49.94 billion (about $1.72 billion), an increase of 15.2 percent over September 2012 and an increase of 32.8 percent over October 2011. Consolidated revenues for January through October 2012 totaled NT$424.88 billion (about $14.65 billion), an increase of 18.0 percent compared to the same period in 2011.
The percentage increases over the year before Ė both on a monthly and a year-to-date basis are increasing indicating the potential for a better than seasonal uptick in sales. Fourth quarter sales are usually sequentially flat.
When announcing its 3Q12 financial results TSMC predicted fourth quarter net sales of between NT$129 billion and NT$131 billion compared with third quarter sales of NT$141 billion with the explanation that it expects the IC supply chain to begin reducing inventories in the fourth quarter.
Much may depend on how consumer purchasing develops on Black Friday (Nov. 23) and thereafter. Black Friday is seen as the start of the winter present shopping season. If sales are weak then equipment makers will slow or cancel orders but if sales are strong then the predicted inventory correction may not happen or could at least be ameliorated.
A second foundry United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) also showed growing sales in October.
UMC reported net sales of NT$9.28 billion (about $320 million) in October, up 1.8 percent on sales in September and up 12.4 percent on sales in October 2011. UMC's sales for the first ten months of 2012 were NT$ 89,191 (about $3.08 billion), 0.6 percent behind UMC's sales for the first 10 months of 2011.