Report: LCD demand a boon for Vanguard, backend subcons

May 31, 2007 – Taiwan foundry Vanguard International Semiconductor Co. has run capacity utilization over 100% due to “swarming” orders from customers needing LCD drivers as exhausted panel makers rebuild their stockpiles, according to the Taiwan Economic News.

Panel makers’ inventory of LCD drivers have been depleted since mid-May as panel makers business’ surges. That means a greater need for LCD drivers, and more contracts from chip vendors to foundry subcons. Vanguard is particularly feeling the pinch due to its 200mm capabilities (67,000 wafers/month at full capacity), since LCD driver suppliers seeking to offset plunging prices are eager to cut production costs by upgrading from 150mm wafers.

Specialist test and packaging houses are also benefiting, the paper noted — ChipMos Technologies Ltd., International Semiconductor Technology Ltd., and Chipbond Technology Corp. all forecast >20% higher revenue in May, and project utilization rates ramping to >90% by mid-June.

Vanguard has been seen shopping around for badly needed foundry capacity for many months now. Earlier this spring the firm bought Winbond’s 200mm fab in Taiwan’s Hsinchu Science Park for about $251 million. That site adds about 38,000 wafers/month capacity to Vanguard’s existing 65,000 wafers/month 200mm capacity. And earlier this year a similar deal was rumored to be in the works to buy Powerchip’s 200mm Fab 8A (40,000 wafers/month capacity, 0.25-0.15 processes), according to the Taiwan paper.


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