TSMC sees little impact from virus attack with August sales up

Taipei, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC), the world's largest contract chipmaker, saw little impact from a computer virus attack in early August, and reported Monday that its sales for the month rose more than 22 percent from a month earlier.

TSMC said it posted NT$91.06 billion (US$2.96 billion) in consolidated sales in August, up 22.4 percent from a month earlier. The August figure was the second-highest level so far this year, trailing only behind NT$103.70 billion recorded in March.

The August sales were down 0.9 percent from a year earlier. In the first eight months of this year, however, TSMC's consolidated sales totaled NT$646.78 billion, up 5.8 percent from a year earlier.

The latest revenue data eased investor worries about the impact of a virus attack that hit TSMC factories in Taiwan Aug. 3, which prompted almost all of its production lines to grind to a halt before returning to full production Aug. 6.

After the virus attack, TSMC denied it was caused by a hacker but said it occurred when a new tool was connected to the company's computer network without having been isolated first to be checked for viruses as a precaution.

On Aug. 6, TSMC forecast that the incident could cost the company's sales for the third quarter to fall by less than 2 percent.

In an investor conference held in mid-July, TSMC gave guidance, saying that its third-quarter sales will range between US$8.28 billion and US$8.38 billion with a medium figure of US$8.33 billion, up about 6 percent from a quarter earlier.

Market analysts said the increase in August sales reflected strong demand for chips made on TSMC's advanced 7-nanometer process, which started production in the first half of this year.

Analysts said the 7nm process is expected to continue to serve as a driver to TSMC's sales growth for the rest of the third quarter.

They added that after rival California-based Globalfoundries Inc. announced in late August to shelve its 7nm technology development, TSMC is expected to cement the lead over its peers to secure more orders in the global market.

Based on TSMC's third-quarter sales guidance, its September revenue could range between NT$87.1 billion and NT$90.2 billion, analysts said.

TSMC's August sales report was released after the local equity market closed Monday. During the trading session, shares of TSMC closed up 0.19 percent to close at NT$264.50 on the Taiwan Stock Exchange, outperforming the weighted index, which plunged 1.12 percent to end at 10,725.80 points amid rising fears over trade friction between the United States and China.

TSMC has served as an anchor in recent sessions to prevent the broader market falling further on the back of large foreign institutional buying. Last week, foreign institutional investors sold a net NT$677 million-worth of shares on the main board, but they recorded a net buy of 33.52 million TSMC shares, the largest net buy among the listed companies on the main board.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel