Sat, Mar 21, 2015 - Page 14 News List

Chip equipment makers healthy

RATIO OF OPTIMISM:Despite firms’ bookings slipping against billings last month, industry group SEMI was optimistic due to year-on-year improvement

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

While the book-to-bill ratio for North American-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers, such as Applied Materials Inc, fell last month, the latest figure indicated that the industry was still in a good shape, semiconductor industry association SEMI said in a statement on Thursday.

The three-month average of worldwide bookings slid 1.3 percent to US$1.31 billion last month, while the three-month average of worldwide billings shrank 0.2 percent to US$1.28 billion, leading the book-to-bill ratio to fall to 1.02 last month from 1.04 in January, SEMI data showed.

A ratio of 1.02 means that US$102 worth of orders were received for every US$100 of product billed during the month. The ratio is used as an indicator of the outlook for the semiconductor industry, with a ratio of above one implying a more optimistic outlook, while a ratio of less than one showing weakness.

On an annual basis, bookings for last month grew 1 percent from US$1.3 billion, while billings contracted 0.9 percent from US$1.29 billion.

“Year-to-date bookings and billings for North American semiconductor equipment are higher than last year for the same time period,” SEMI president and CEO Denny McGuirk said in the statement.

“The year is off to a good start, with growth in bookings from the back-end sector,” McGuirk added.

Earlier this month, SEMI forecast that global semiconductor fab equipment spending would grow 15 percent this year to US$40.5 billion from last year’s US$35.2 billion.

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