Wed, Aug 25, 2010 - Page 11 News List

Chipmakers’ growth trend sustainable: industry says

DOUBLING UP Local firms are expected to increase their expenditures on new semiconductor equipment, taking them to first place internationally, led by TSMC

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted their strongest figures in more than nine years, hitting US$1.83 billion in orders last month, indicating a sustainable growth trend for the global semiconductor sector, industry association SEMI said.

Order bookings rose 5.9 percent from US$1.73 billion posted in June, and were 3.3 times the US$571.8 million from the same period of last year, statistics compiled by SEMI showed.

Last month, the book-to-bill ratio climbed to 1.23, meaning US$123 of orders were received for every US$100 of products billed for the month, SEMI said. The ratio was 1.18 in June.

“The July report shows continued momentum in the market for new semiconductor manufacturing equipment,” SEMI president and chief executive officer Stanley Myers said.

“While there are some questions about the semiconductor industry sustaining its strong growth trend in the second half of this year, bookings for new equipment continue to increase and are at the highest levels recorded since January 2001,” Myers said.

SEMI is the global i­ndustry association­ serving the ­manufacturing supply chains for the microelectronic, display and photovoltaic industries.

This year, global capital equipment spending is expected to grow to US$32.5 billion, with Taiwan ranking at the top of the world’s semiconductor equipment buyers, SEMI forecast on July 13.

Local firms, led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), are expected to more than double their spending to US$9.18 billion on purchases of new semiconductor equipment this year compared with last year, SEMI said.

On July 29, TSMC, the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, raised its capital spending this year to US$5.9 billion from previous estimates of US$4.8 billion, to match customer demand.

The company said yesterday in a stock exchange filing that it bought NT$787 million (US$24.5 million) worth of equipment from Applied Materials South East Asia Pacific Ltd from Aug. 3 to yesterday.

Local rival United Microelectronics Corp (聯電) also hiked its spending to US$1.8 billion for this year from the US$1.5 billion originally budgeted.

The company said on Monday that it would run at full capacity this quarter and that it had not had cancellations from customers.

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