* Q4 net profit T$41.6 bln, in line with analysts' forecasts
* Sees Q1 revenue T$127-129 bln, down slightly from Q4
* Plans record annual capital expenditure of $9 bln
* Shares end flat prior to results vs market's 1 pct fall
By Clare Jim
TAIPEI, Jan 17 Taiwan Semiconductor
Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) reported a 32
percent rise in fourth-quarter profit as its cutting-edge
technology keeps it ahead of rivals in the mobile gadget boom.
Chips made by TSMC's 28-nanometre process technology, which
can cram much more computing power into smaller chips, are
widely sought after as consumers shift to devices like Apple
Inc's iPad and iPhone and away from personal computers.
Net profit for the world's biggest contract chipmaker in the
October-December period was T$41.6 billion ($1.4 billion), in
line with the T$41.3 billion average estimate of 23 analysts
polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The figure compares with T$49.3 billion in the third quarter
and T$31.6 billion for the same quarter a year ago.
TSMC said it expects first-quarter revenue to decline to
between T$127 billion and T$129 billion, versus the fourth
quarter's T$131.3 billion, largely due to seasonal factors. The
fall was previously flagged by TSMC Chairman Morris Chang who
has said that he expects a rebound from April and has predicted
2013 revenue growth of 15-20 percent.
The company also expects inventory levels to dip in the
Seeking to keep its edge in small chips, TSMC said last
month it plans to boost its annual capital spending to a record
$9 billion, from $8.3 billion. But it also faces intensifying
competition as rivals such as Global Foundries, Intel
and United Microelectronics Corp seek to catch
up in technology and capacity.
TSMC's clients include Qualcomm, Texas Instruments
Samsung Electronics, the world leader in mobiles
and memory chips, said last week it likely earned a quarterly
profit of $8.3 billion on strong smartphone sales of its Galaxy
range. A recovery in chip prices and flat
screens should also boost component earnings, analysts said.
Before the results announcement, TSMC shares closed flat,
outperforming the broader market's 1 percent fall.
The shares gained 28 percent last year, compared with a 9
percent rise for the broader market.