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Chipmaker TSMC cuts revenue, capex goals after Q2 profit rise


TAIWAN Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) cut its annual revenue and capital expenditure estimates on Thursday, as the world's largest contract chipmaker braces for slowing growth in the smartphone and cryptocurrency mining industries.

TSMC, which makes chips for technology giants such as Apple Inc, Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp, its lowered 2018 revenue growth forecast to a high single digit per cent from 10 per cent previously, and trimmed its expected capex range to US$10-10.5 billion from US$11.5-12 billion.

For the April-June quarter, TSMC reported a 9 per cent rise in net profit from a year earlier to NT$72.29 billion (S$3.2 billion), in line with market estimates, on strong demand for high-end chips used in cryptocurrency mining.

Revenue rose 11 per cent to US$7.85 billion, the middle of the US$7.8 billion to US$7.9 billion range TSMC forecast in April.

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Sales to the personal computer industry accounted for 21 per cent of total revenue, from 8 per cent a year prior, while revenue from the communications sector that includes smartphones fell to 48 per cent from 58 per cent.

The firm could face slowing demand for high-end chips used in cryptocurrency mining as miners switch to lower-powered chips due to price volatility as well as increased regulatory scrutiny of the sector, analysts said.

"We anticipate our business will benefit from new product launches . . . while cryptocurrency mining demand will decrease from the second quarter," chief financial officer Lora Ho told analysts.

An intensifying trade spat between the United States and China could also be a near-term risk for TSMC, which has many of its biggest clients in mainland China, analysts said.

Revenue from China jumped to 23 per cent from 11 per cent a year earlier, though North America remains its biggest market with 53 per cent of total revenue, down from 59 per cent.

Prior to the earnings announcement, shares in TSMC closed up 0.67 per cent versus a flat wider market. The stock has slipped less than one per cent so far this year. REUTERS

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