Apple Orders, Telework Push Chipmaker TSMC’s Profit To $4.8 Billion

(Forbes) – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., the world’s largest contract chipmaker, reported a 36% jump in quarterly profit Thursday, its highest in at least a year, likely because of orders from Apple as it prepares to launch new iPhones along with devices that support teleworking and studying at home.

The company, better known as TSMC, announced that its net profit had reached NT$137.3 billion ($4.8 billion). Its second-quarter profit was NT$120.9 billion and slightly less in each of the two quarters before then.

Apple’s iPhone 12 is due for release this month after a delay reported last month. TSMC’s profit has risen with Apple’s in recent years, Bloomberg reports. TSMC gets a quarter of its orders from Apple, according to one estimate. It cranks out the rest of its chips for a who’s who of other major consumer electronics brands.

The chipmaker’s sales had risen 25% in September.

TSMC makes some of its money on chip orders from PCs and phones that have been in heavy demand this year as people work or study from home to ride out the Covid-19 pandemic. The 33-year-old firm regarded as a well-managed bellwether for the global semiconductor sector sells chips as well for high-performance computing and connected devices.

“Work from home is still a big proportion of their business, and that’s why you see high-performance computing,” says Brady Wang, an analyst with Counterpoint Research in Taiwan.

Net revenue reached $12.1 billion in the third quarter, beating TSMC’s forecast of $11.2 billion to $11.5 billion. The third-quarter total marks a 21.6% increase over the same period last year.

“Our third-quarter business benefited from the strong demand for our advanced technologies and specialty technology solutions, driven by 5G smartphones, high-performance computing and IoT-related applications,” company Chief Financial Officer Wendell Huang said in a statement.

The company keeps orders coming by refining its manufacturing process to make chips that run on less power and steady speeds. “Advanced technologies” accounted for 61% of total wafer revenue in the July-September period, TSMC said. Apple is making orders for one of TSMC’s most advanced processes, Wang says.