Chartered Semiconductor saw capacity utilization in second quarter of 2009 rebound to 60%, compared 38% in first quarter 2009. Customers in the communications sector had driven the growth in wafer starts, though all sectors saw growth, according to the company. Overall fab utilization is expected to reach 70% in the third quarter and leading-edge capacity has become increasingly tight.
“As we go into the third quarter, we are seeing healthy sequential growth in our business mainly driven by our leading-edge 65nm technology node and to a lesser extent 0.35-micron and above technology nodes, partially offset by some reduction in the 0.25-micron technology node,” commented George Thomas, senior vice president and CFO of Chartered. “The communications sector is expected to primarily drive this growth, followed by computer sector to a lesser extent. Based on our current outlook, we expect our total business base shipments and revenues to sequentially increase approximately 16 percent and 11 percent respectively in the third quarter. In line with the strength we are seeing at the leading-edge technologies, we expect revenues from 65nm and below technologies to increase approximately 25 percent sequentially and represent approximately 33 percent of our total business base revenues in the third quarter,” said Thomas.
To meet expected demand in advanced bulk CMOS technology, Chartered said it would increase capital spending to add capacity at its 300mm facility, Fab 7 by US$125 million to US$500 million.
Chartered executives said in their quarterly conference call that the increased spending would take Fab 7 capacity to 31,000wspm by March 2010. By the end of 2009, capacity would be reach 29,000wspm, up slightly from previous projections of 27,000wspm.