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Pure-play foundry United Microelectronics (UMC) saw its net profits exceed NT$10 billion (US$357.1 million) in the fourth quarter, with profits for 2020 reaching a 14-year high of NT$29.19 billion.
UMC generated net profits of nearly NT$11.2 billion in the fourth quarter, up 22.9% sequentially, with EPS reaching NT$0.92. EPS for 2020 amounted to NT$2.42.
"Our business traction in the third quarter of 2020 carried over into the fourth quarter, lifting utilization rate to 99%," said UMC co-president Jason Wang. "The stable capacity utilization was driven by robust end market demand from consumer and computing related applications."
"For full year 2020, UMC's revenues grew 26% in USD while operating income surged to NT$22.01 billion, reflecting solid utilization rates across both 8- and 12-inch facilities," Wang continued. "In particular, our enhanced 12-inch product mix primarily resulted from the substantial pick-up in 28nm wafer business as well as our successful integration of USJC's 12-inch operations."
UMC saw sales generated from 28nm process technology grow as a proportion of its total wafer revenues to 18% in the fourth quarter of 2020, up from 14% in the prior quarter and 10% a year earlier. The process accounted for 14% of UMC's total wafer revenues in 2020, compared with 11% in 2019.
Looking into the first quarter of 2021, UMC expects to post an approximately 2% increase in wafer shipments sequentially with ASP rising 2-3%. The foundry added it will utilize 100% of its capacity during the quarter, thanks to a strong pull-in of orders.
UMC saw its gross margin climb 2.1pp sequentially to 23.9% in the fourth quarter, with gross margin for all of 2020 reaching 22.1% - representing a robust 7.7pp surge on year. UMC expects its gross margin to rise further to 25% in the first quarter of 2021.
In addition, UMC set its capex target this year at US$1.5 billion, of 85% will be utilized for 12-inch fabs.
Specialty DRAM and flash memory chipmaker Winbond Electronics on July 22 held a beam-raising ceremony for its new 12-inch wafer plant in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan. The new facility is on track to have Winbond's in-house developed 20nm process technology...
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