TSMC Expects 30% Sales Rise Despite Global Economic Ructions

·3 min read

(Bloomberg) -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. expects revenue to grow about 30% in 2022, signaling resilient demand for electronics despite global macroeconomic uncertainty.

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Sales growth this year should accelerate from 2021’s 24.9%, which was in dollar terms, Chairman Mark Liu said at the company’s annual shareholder meeting on Wednesday. That’s in line with executive remarks in April that gave an official outlook of topping mid- to high-20% growth in 2022.

TSMC’s projection comes as concerns persist that inflation, the war in Ukraine and Chinese lockdowns will hammer demand for gadgets. On Wednesday, executives acknowledged smartphones and computers have been hard-hit but that spending in other areas such as electric vehicles have exceeded expectations. They played down the effect of inflation, saying the rise in prices was gradually abating.

“The current inflation has no direct impact on the semiconductor industry as the demand drop is mainly for consumer devices like smartphones and PCs while EV demand is very strong and partially exceeds our supply capacity so we are making inventory adjustments,” Liu said. “Utilization rate is full for the rest of the year.”

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TSMC reaffirmed previous projections for $17.6 billion to $18.2 billion of revenue this quarter, supporting gross margins of as much as 58%.

TSMC, the most advanced maker of chips for tech giants from Apple Inc. to Nvidia Corp., rose more than 1% in Taipei, after having shed more than a tenth of its value this year. While the Taiwanese company has been one of the biggest beneficiaries in past years of soaring demand for chips in a growing range of connected devices, investors fear policy tightening around the world will begin to erode consumption in 2022.

Apple is planning to keep iPhone production roughly flat in 2022, Bloomberg News has reported -- a conservative stance as the year turns increasingly challenging for the smartphone industry. At the same time, wait times for semiconductor delivery hit a record high in May though some companies are starting to see relief. Chipmakers are also raising prices due to rising costs.

Read more: Apple to Keep IPhone Production Flat as Market Grows Tougher

Over the longer term, TSMC remains a linchpin of global business, a key supplier to industries from automobiles to crypto and the internet. Its technology is among the most sought-after in the industry. This week, a senior economist at a government-run research group in China -- which considers Taiwan its territory -- called on authorities to seize the company.

TSMC will continue with its new fab in Arizona despite a lack of progress in Congress on approving a $52 billion chip-funding bill, Liu told shareholders Wednesday. That could push up costs though it would be manageable, the TSMC chairman added.

Read more: Top Economist Urges China to Seize TSMC If US Ramps Up Sanctions

TSMC is building a $12 billion plant in Arizona in addition to capacity expansion underway closer to home. Speculation has persisted that the chip giant is considering a factory in Europe, but it has no concrete plans to build a fab in that region for now, Liu said.

Executives reiterated that the company has earmarked $40 billion to $44 billion this year to expand and upgrade its facilities and should again spend more than $40 billion in 2023. That’s a record outlay intended to keep the company at the forefront of a rapidly evolving technology and sating future demand.

“TSMC has entered a period of structural high growth,” Liu said. “Technology leadership is key to our growth.”

(Updates with chairman quote and share action from fourth paragraph)

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