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Chip Maker TSMC Says 4Q Profit Rises

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. said Thursday its fourth quarter profit jumped 24.7 percent on strong demand from the communications sector.

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) -- Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world's largest contract chipmaker, said Thursday its fourth quarter profit jumped 24.7 percent on strong demand from the communications sector.

The company said net profit for the October-December period was 40.72 billion New Taiwan dollars ($1.4 billion), up from NT$32.67 billion in the year-ago period.

Consolidated revenue of NT$110.14 billion ($3.6 billion) rose 19.6 percent up from NT$92.1 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009.

TSMC's chips are used in devices ranging from mobile phones to video games to computers. Demand plunged following the onset of the global financial crisis in 2008 but began to recover in the second quarter of 2010.

"In the fourth quarter, demand for TSMC's wafers remained strong, with increases in wafer shipments in the communications segment offsetting decreases in computer and consumer segments," the company said.

Wafers are the slices of semiconductor material from which chips are cut.

TSMC said advanced process technologies of 0.13-micron and below accounted for 73 percent of wafer revenues.

Looking ahead, chief financial officer Lora Ho said she is optimistic about the January-March period this year.

"For the first quarter of 2011, we expect the demand to be stronger than seasonal," said Ho.

The company expects revenue for the January-March period to be between NT$105 billion and NT$107 billion, considered robust since Taiwanese companies usually do less business during the first quarter, when Chinese New Year takes place.

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