GlobalWafers Co (環球晶圓), the world’s third-largest silicon wafer maker, yesterday said that Samsung Electronics Co and most of its customers have not scaled back on orders, or delayed shipments, even though consumer spending has shifted away from smartphones and notebook computers due to mounting inflation pressures.
Rising inflation has altered consumers’ spending habits, dampening sales of consumer electronics, the Hsinchu-based company said.
However, customers all honored their supply agreements by adjusting their product mix and shifting to applications that are still reporting robust growth, it said.
Aside from one 6-inch factory, GlobalWafers’ 15 factories around the world are running at 100 percent utilization, the company said, adding that they would continue running at full capacity until the end of this year, thanks to increasing demand.
“Up to now, we did not feel the squeeze from Samsung. We do not see any impact on wafer [supply] at all,” GlobalWafers chairwoman Doris Hsu (徐秀蘭) told a virtual media briefing after the company’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Hsinchu.
“Most customers who ordered 8-inch and 12-inch wafers do not intend to cut the amount, or delay shipments, even though some customers are seeing slow demand for display driver ICs. They have just altered their product mix to cope with it,” Hsu said.
GlobalWafers has continued to sign new long-term agreements (LTAs) for supply — some lasting until 2031 and most exceeding 2028, Hsu said.
The company is still in talks to sign contracts primarily for the supply of 12-inch wafers, as well as 8-inch float zone wafers with high-purity silicon, she said.
“Demand is still on the rise. Customers have expressed a strong willingness to sign new LTAs,” Hsu said.
Based on a new agreement with its customers, GlobalWafers expects its wafer average selling prices to continue to increase this year and next year, she said.
LTAs guarantee fixed wafer supply at fixed prices.
Asked if GlobalWafers would consider suspending its plan to construct a new factory amid rising oversupply concerns, Hsu said that the industry’s short-term ups and downs would not affect the company’s capacity expansion plans.
“Semiconductor demand will be back on the growth track in the long term. This is not going to change,” she said, adding that 5G-related devices, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles and emerging technologies would drive demand.
GlobalWafers plans to announce the location of a new fab by the end of this month, Hsu said.
The firm has removed Japan, where it already has five factories, and Southeast Asian nations, including Singapore, from its short list.
GlobalWafers in February unveiled a series of greenfield and brownfield capacity investment plans worth NT$100 billion (US$3.37 billion) in total.
The company’s shareholders yesterday approved a plan to distribute a cash dividend of NT$16 per common share. That represented a payout ratio of 58.67 percent based on the company’s earnings per share of NT$27.27.
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