Taiwan's TSMC shares drop over 1.2 percent after computer virus outbreak

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TSMC, the world's largest contract chipmaker, on Sunday (August 5) estimated the impact of the company's computer virus outbreak on August 3, which affected a number of computer systems and fab tools in Taiwan, to third quarter revenue to be about 3%. No individual or organization has taken credit for the attack though TSMC representatives have said that the virus was not introduced by a hacker.

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The virus struck late on Friday night and led to the closure of several TSMC factories, and some of these are still not operational. While the problem had been contained and some of the factories had resumed production, work at several factories wasn't expected to resume until Sunday.

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Chief Executive Officer C.C. Wei had said TSMC's sales will rise this year by a high single-digit percentage in United States dollar terms, down from an already reduced projection of about 10 per cent. TSMC is working on solutions now but said the degree of infection varied from factory to factory, and that it will provide more information Monday after it's assessed the situation. TSMC is best known outside of PC enthusiast circles as the iPhone chip manufacturer but many readers here will know it for its key role in the production of advanced performance PC components sold by the likes of AMD, Nvidia and their partners. We estimate the impact to third-quarter revenue to be about three percent, and impact to gross margin to be about one percentage point. But it's confident it will get that back in the fourth quarter.

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Any shipment delays caused by this virus incident - which occurred just about two months after Morris Chang had retired - could undermine the customer trust that it had long built up, the sources speculated. Currently, we don't know what impact, if any, this virus will have on the production of the new iPhone or on TSMC in general. The iPhone maker last week surpassed a market value of $1 trillion, largely on the strength of sales for its pioneering smartphone.

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