earning call


[News] UMC Foresees a Computer and Communication Market Rebound

The semiconductor foundry, United Microelectronics Corporation (UMC), held an online briefing on October 25th to unveil its 3Q 2023 operational report. UMC achieved consolidated revenue of NT$57.07 billion, marking a 1.4% growth compared to the previous quarter’s NT$56.3 billion in 3Q23. However, it’s essential to note that this quarter’s revenue decreased by 24.3% in comparison to 3Q 2022.

In 3Q, a 35.9% gross margin yielded a net profit of NT$15.97 billion and an EPS of NT$1.29. The first three quarters of 2023 saw revenue at NT$167.575 billion, marking a 20.5% decline from 2022. The gross margin for this period remained at 35.8%, resulting in a net profit of NT$47.795 billion and an EPS of NT$3.87.

UMC’s Co-president, Jason Wang, highlighted that the company’s performance in the 3Q was boosted by the growing demand in the computer and communication sectors. This was further enhanced by ongoing improvements in product offerings and favorable exchange rates. Notably, despite a 2.3% decrease in overall wafer shipments, the revenue and gross margin remained robust compared to the previous quarter.

Delving into the terminal product market, products like LCD controllers, Wi-Fi, encoders and decoders, and touch IC controllers stimulated demand in the computer application sector. Additionally, the demand for RF front-end ICs and network chips contributed to the shipment volume in the communication sector.

Looking ahead to the 4Q, Wang said that the computer and communication sectors are gradually recovering in terms of short-term demand. In contrast, the automotive market remains challenging, and customers are adopting a cautious approach in managing inventory levels.

UMC foresees that the expansion of capacity at Fab 12A P6 in Nanjing in 2024 will provide significant support, further boosting revenue contributions for 22/28-nanometer technologies.

UMC’s estimate for the 4Q indicates that wafer shipments are projected to decline by 5%, with the average selling price remaining stable. Capacity utilization is expected to decrease from 67% in the previous quarter to a range of 61-63%, which will consequently impact the gross margin. It is estimated to decrease from 35.9% in the 3Q to a range of 31-33%.

Regarding capital expenditure, Q3 saw approximately $570 million spent, a 30.49% decrease from the previous quarter and a 25.39% decrease from 3Q 2022. Cumulative capital expenditure for the first three quarters reached around $2.4 billion, showing a 52.69% increase compared to 2022. The total 2023 capital expenditure remains at $3 billion, with 90% allocated to 12-inch capacity and 10% to 8-inch capacity.

(Image: UMC)

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