Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC), the world's largest and second largest contract chip-makers, have both reported sales declines for February.
Yesterday, TSMC announced February consolidated sales of NT$33.856 billion (S$1.4 billion), a decline of 2.1 per cent from January.
On a year-on-year basis, the figure was a rise of 3.6 per cent. For the first two months of 2012, TSMC posted sales of NT$68.42 billion, a rise of 0.5 per cent compared to the same period last year and better than market expectations.
The company expects sales to rise further in March. It has predicted first-quarter sales would total NT$103 billion to NT$105 billion, meaning March sales would fall between NT$34.5 billion and NT$36.5 billion, the height of the current quarter.
At the same time, TSMC on Thursday announced plans to expand its staff by 2,000 in the first half.
The firm is looking for 1,700 professionals and 300 technicians in this recruitment effort, it said.
The professionals that TSMC is looking for are mostly engineers specialising in integrated circuit manufacturing, materials and research and development.
The firm is also looking for people with expertise in information technology, marketing and management.
Also on Thursday, TSMC rival UMC reported February sales of NT$7.523 billion, a decline of 6.55 per cent from January and the lowest in 33 months.
On a year-on-year basis, the figure was a 16.48 per cent decline. Cumulatively, the firm garnered sales of NT$15.574 billion in January and February, a decline of 15.96 per cent year-on-year.
Like TSMC, UMC said sales had fallen to the bottom in February and would go back up in March, due to longer workdays.
Most analysts predict UMC March sales would reach NT$7.6 billion, a rise of 2 per cent from February.
UMC posted sales of NT$8.051 billion back in January, due to rush orders placed by clients. However, the figure fell in February due to shorter workdays and a slow season in the IT industry.
According to UMC, increased shipments of the low-priced 200-millimeter wafers are expected to lower first-quarter US dollar-based average sales price by 5 per cent, compared to Q4 last year. As a result, Q1 sales are expected to drop by within 5 per cent compared to Q4 2011, analysts said.
UMC yesterday closed flat at NT$14.75, while TSMC rose 0.38 per cent to NT$80.