UMC's first quarter net profit rockets

United Microelectronics (UMC), the world's second-largest contract chip maker, said that a rising demand for semiconductors...

United Microelectronics (UMC), the world's second-largest contract chip maker, said that a rising demand for semiconductors boosted its first-quarter income by more than 1,600% compared with the same period last year.

UMC reported first-quarter net income of $208m (£117m), an increase of 1,611% compared with the same period last year when the company reported net income of $12m. Net sales during the first quarter hit $765m (£428m), up 41.5% from net sales of $541m during the same period last year.

On a sequential basis, net income rose 2.5% from $202m during the fourth quarter. Net sales rose 6.8% from $717m during the fourth quarter.

"Our first-quarter results truly reflect the upturn in the global semiconductor industry," said Jackson Hu, UMC's chief executive officer.

UMC's chip fabrication plants operated at full capacity during the first quarter, UMC said, noting that 5% of the company's production capacity had been taken offline during the period for annual scheduled maintenance. Maintenance is normally conducted on production equipment during the first quarter of each year because demand normally slows during this period.

UMC's larger rival Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing also posted a substantial increase in net income during the first quarter. The company reported net income of $568m (£318m), an increase of 331% from the same period last year, when TSMC reported net income of $133m.

Sumner Lemon writes for IDG News Service

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