TSMC profits down 22.5 percent, still able to afford a new yacht

It's not been a great year for Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company: the chip foundry behind Qualcomm and NVIDIA's silicon (amongst others) saw profits slump by 22.5 percent in the last quarter of 2011. Like everything in this world, however, trouble is relative: the business still made a net profit of just over a billion US dollars. CEO Morris Chang pointed a wealthy digit toward customers clearing out old inventory and said that new orders for phone and tablet CPUs would arrive shortly -- thanks to a 28-nanometer factory that opened its doors around the same time. He then casually mentioned that a 20-nanometer facility will open its doors towards the end of this year, followed by a 14-nanometer block by 2014. We've got the report on the financials -- for those with a currency convertor and some spare time to hand -- after the break.

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TSMC Reports Fourth Quarter EPS of NT$1.22
Issued by: TSMC
Issued on: 2012/01/18
Hsinchu, Taiwan, R.O.C., January 18, 2012 -- TSMC today announced consolidated revenue of NT$104.71 billion, net income of NT$31.58 billion, and diluted earnings per share of NT$1.22 (US$0.20 per ADR unit) for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011.

Year-over-year, fourth quarter revenue decreased 4.9% while both net income and diluted EPS decreased 22.5%. Compared to third quarter of 2011, fourth quarter of 2011 results represent a 1.7% decrease in revenue, and a 3.9% increase in both net income and diluted EPS. All figures were prepared in accordance with R.O.C. GAAP on a consolidated basis.

In US dollars, fourth quarter revenue decreased 5.4% from the previous quarter and decreased 4.5% year-over-year.

Gross margin for the quarter was 44.7%, operating margin was 31.4%, and net margin was 30.2%.

28-nanometer process technology accounted for 2% of total wafer revenues, 40-nanometer was 27%, and 65-nanometer accounted for 30%. These advanced technologies accounted for 59% of total wafer revenues.

"Although the outlook of the global economy remains uncertain, we expect the demand for our wafers to be stronger than seasonal for the first quarter," said Lora Ho, SVP and Chief Financial Officer of TSMC. "Based on our current business outlook and exchange rate assumption of 1 US dollar to 30.25 NT dollars, management expects overall performance for first quarter 2012 to be as follows":

· Revenue is expected to be between NT$103 billion and NT$105 billion;
· Gross profit margin is expected to be between 42.5% and 44.5%;
· Operating profit margin is expected to be between 28.5% and 30.5%.

TSMC further expects the capital expenditures for 2012 to be about US$6 billion.