Despite high capacity utilization throughout 2010, UMC’s capital expenditure was pegged at US$1.8 billion. Significantly, capital expenditure was said to remain at the same level in 2011, despite record revenue and profits posted for last year. UMC posted revenue of US$4 billion for 2010, while the foundry industry has seen approximately 6-quarters of growth, since coming out of the recession in mid-2009.
Key to its spending plans in 2011 is a focus on advanced technology nodes. Recently, IHS iSuppli reported that UMC was falling behind its major rivals on processing prowess.
UMC executives claimed that in the second-half of the year the foundry would see 10% of its capacity used 40nm processes and that pilot production at the 28nm node would start by mid-year.
Capacity utilization fell slightly in the fourth quarter, down from 99% in Q3 to 94% in Q4.