TSMC Quarterly Sales Rise 17% After Surge in Chip Demand


Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. reported a third straight quarter of record sales, underscoring its lead as the world’s No. 1 maker of the advanced chips that are currently in short supply.

Taiwan’s largest company said first-quarter revenue climbed 17% to NT$362.4 billion ($12.7 billion), compared with the average NT$360.5 billion of analysts estimates.

TSMC manufactures chips that go into most pieces of modern electronics, from Apple Inc.’s iPhones to smart televisions and connected cars, making it a linchpin of the global supply chain. With economies starting to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, silicon demand has vastly outstripped supply in recent months, forcing automakers to idle plants for up to weeks at a time and fueling a shortage of popular consumer products like game consoles.

In response, TSMC has kept its fabs running at “over 100% utilization” over the past year, Chief Executive Officer C.C. Wei told clients in a letter recently. The company — already planning capital spending of as much as $28 billion this year — will invest $100 billion over the next three years to expand its capacity, he said.

“TSMC is investing aggressively to capture the structural and fundamental increase in underlying demand driven by long-term growth megatrends from 5G and high performance computing,” Citigroup analyst Roland Shu wrote in a note. The spending target implies TSMC’s revenue could reach as much as $95.1 billion in 2024 and the firm “is on the march to be the largest semiconductor company by revenue in 2024/2025,” he added.

Shares of TSMC have more than doubled over the past year. The stock slipped 0.5% on Friday, before the company reported sales figures. It’s scheduled to unveil first-quarter earnings next week.