TAIPEI — Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world’s largest foundry, today revised its expectations on the impact from a February 6 earthquake, saying the recovery will take longer than the company originally forecast.
“We still expect to see wafer delivery delays in the first quarter,” the company said in a press statement. For Fab 14A, wafer delivery will be delayed by 10 to 50 days, and delivery of about 100,000 12-inch wafers will be delayed from the first quarter to the second quarter, according to TSMC. For Fab 6, the wafer delivery delay will be 5 to 20 days, with 20,000 8-inch wafers delayed to the second quarter. For Fab 14B, the delivery delay will negligible, the company said.
The impact to the company’s operations was limited to the Southern Taiwan Science Park, where TSMC has Fab 14 and Fab 6. TSMC initially said it expected to recover most of its operations within two to three days and that no more than 1 percent of its production for the first quarter of this year would be affected.
“We will make every effort and work closely with customers to expedite the delivery of all impacted wafers,” TSMC said in the statement.
TSMC’s other fabs located in the Hsinchu and Taichung Science Parks are unaffected.
The company also revised its first-quarter sales forecast upward. TSMC said its revenue during the period will fall within a range of NT$201 billion ($6.04 billion) to NT$203 billion, up from the range of NT$198 billion to NT$201 billion that it forecast earlier this year. The impact to wafer shipments from the earthquake is more than offset by a combination of business upside and a more favorable exchange-rate assumption, the company said.
United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), Taiwan’s second-largest foundry, on February 6 also said it expected its operations in the Southern Taiwan Science Park to recover within a few days. UMC hasn’t updated its expectations on the impact to its production at this time.
The epicenter of the 6.4 magnitude tremor was about 48 kilometers (30 miles) east-southeast of the southern Taiwan city of Tainan, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Taiwan makes nearly a third of the world’s semiconductors. An earthquake exceeding 7.3 magnitude in Taiwan on September 21, 1999 caused widespread power outages and curtailment of chip production for nearly a week. Taiwan lies in an earthquake-prone region on the rim of the Pacific Ocean, known as the Ring of Fire.
—Alan Patterson covers the semiconductor industry for EE Times. He is based in Taiwan.