ASE evaluating losses caused by power outage

Taipei--Taiwan-based Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. (ASE, ???), the world's largest integrated circuit packaging and testing services provider, said Wednesday that the company is assessing losses suffered by two of its plants in Kaohsiung after a sudden nationwide power outage a day earlier.

In a statement filed with the Taiwan Stock Exchange, Kaohsiung-headquartered ASE said that its K21 and K22 plants were affected by Tuesday's blackout, with operations grinding to a halt for about one hour.

While many businesses in the manufacturing sector remained intact despite the power outage, ASE was one of a few manufacturers that suffered a suspension of operations.

ChipMos Technologies Inc. (??), a smaller IC packaging and testing firm, said that operations of its plant in Tainan were also suspended after the power supply was cut at around 8:55 p.m. Tuesday, but the affected plant returned to normal in about one hour.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC, ???), headquartered in Hsinchu and the world's largest contract chip maker, was among the lucky manufacturers located in the Hsinchu Science-based Park, which suffered no impact from the power outage.

An error by state-owned CPC Corp. (??) at 4:51 p.m. Tuesday caused power generation at the Tatan plant of Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower, ??) to be temporarily interrupted, leaving a total shortfall of 4.65 million kilowatts nationwide.

More than 6.68 million households in 17 cities and counties around Taiwan lost power, and Taipower instituted rotational power rationing measures until 9:40 p.m. after the problem at the Taoyuan plant was fixed and the power supply was fully restored.

In the statement, ASE said that while the company is calculating the financial losses caused by the power outage, the suspension of operations at the two Kaohsiung plants did not have a serious adverse impact on the company's day-to-day operations.

In a statement posted on the TWSE website, ChipMos also said that the company's operations were not seriously affected by the production suspension. Despite their statements, the suspension of operations still sent shares of the two companies lower to underperform the broader market Wednesday.

Shares of ASE fell 1.20 percent to close at NT$37.15 (US$1.23), and shares of ChipMos lost 1.15 percent to end at NT$25.75, while the weighted index on the main board closed down 0.20 percent.

The power outage raised concerns over Taiwan's power supply. The country's unstable power supply has caused worries about the high-tech sector's operations and even future investment plans.

The power outage also cost Taiwan a top economic official. To take responsibility for the power disruption, Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung (???) tendered his resignation, which was accepted by Premier Lin Chuan.

Lin on Wednesday apologized twice to the public for the power outage.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel