TSMC computer virus hit may delay Apple shipments, but impact limited: analysts

TAIPEI (Reuters) - A computer virus outbreak at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) could delay chip shipments for Apple Inc’s new iPhones but the impact will be limited as TSMC has prepared itself for such disruptions, analysts said.

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is seen at its headquarters in Hsinchu, Taiwan October 5, 2017. REUTERS/Eason Lam/File Photo

TSMC, the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said over the weekend a number of its computer systems and fab tools had been infected by a virus and that it expected a full recovery on Monday. It expected the incident to cause shipment delays and forecast a hit to its third-quarter financial results.

Mark Li, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, said in a report on Sunday technology giant Apple was one of the impacted customers but a swift recovery in the fourth quarter should keep the impact minimal.

“Long-term, TSMC’s trustworthy image is somewhat tainted but it is hard to quantify the effect now,” Li said.

KGI Securities said in a report on Monday that while some of TSMC’s 12-inch wafer shipments will be delayed, the impact to the upcoming iPhone launch is limited because “the upstream supply chain usually prepares for these incidents and manufactures surplus chipsets during the initial ramp-up stage”.

Apple did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. TSMC said it did not have any additional information for now.

TSMC has said it maintained its previous forecast of high single-digit revenue growth for 2018 as shipments delayed in the third quarter would recover in the fourth quarter.

As of 0124 GMT, TSMC shares were down 1 percent at T$245.0, compared with a 0.02 percent fall for the benchmark index.

Major tech companies in Taiwan, a crucial part of the global electronics supply chain, usually enter a busier period in the second half of the year ahead of tech gadget launches.

TSMC trimmed its annual revenue and capital spending estimates last month amid bleak demand from smartphone and cryptocurrency mining industries.

Reporting By Yimou Lee; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman