North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment yesterday posted their third straight monthly decline in orders with US$1.51 billion for last month, with a book-to-bill ratio of 0.96, according to industry association SEMI.
A book-to-bill of 0.96 means that US$96 in orders was received for every US$100 of product billed for the month. That was the lowest ratio since June of last year, when it stood at 0.8.
“Following a historic growth period and 18 months of sequential growth, and in accordance with seasonal trends, sales of semiconductor equipment eased in November,” SEMI chief Stanley Myers said in a press release.
“This tracks the bookings trend, which peaked in July,” when the book-to-bill ratio reached 1.23, he said. Bookings fell 5.3 percent, from US$1.59 billion in October. On an annual basis, that meant 90.6 percent growth from US$791.8 million, SEMI said.
Next year, semiconductor equipment spending is expected to increase 23 percent annually to US$40 billion, the highest level in 19 years, according to SEMI’s forecast on Dec. 7.
“A sharp decline in the number of new fabs being built in 2011 and 2012 raises some concerns for the industry,” SEMI Industry Research and Statistics group senior fab information analyst Christian Gregor Dieseldorff said in the report. “It takes 18 to 24 months to plan, construct, equip, qualify and ramp a new fab. The industry may not have enough capacity in the next two years as new fabs come on line.”