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Top IC equipment vendors saw '05 sales fall, says Gartner

Posted: 11 Apr 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Spencer Chin? Gartner Inc.? semiconductor?

Global semiconductor manufacturing equipment sales totaled $34.5 billion in 2005, 10.7 percent down from 2004 revenue of $38.6 billion, according to Gartner Inc.

The market research firm attributed the decline to slower manufacturing capacity growth, combined with 65nm initial production.

"Production cuts due to excess inventories in the first half of the year and a slowing in demand growth drove utilization rates downward in early 2005, leading the industry into an oversupply condition. However, a better than initially anticipated macroeconomic environment aided end-user demand, allowing for a resolution of the excess inventory situation by mid-2005," said Klaus Rinnen, managing vice president for Gartner's semiconductor manufacturing and design research group.

According to Gartner, most of the top 10 vendors experienced revenue declines in line with the overall market performance, with the exception being KLA-Tencor and ASML, which posted revenue gains of 5.6 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

Geographic-wise, the Asia/Pacific region declined by almost 20 percent after being the fastest-growing region in 2004. The region accounted for more than 50 percent of all spending in 2004, but saw that figure decline to 44.5 percent in 2005. After healthy growth of 48.4 percent in 2004, Japanese equipment spending remained virtually flat in 2005, Gartner noted.

European spending was down 1 percent in 2005 with European companies continued to invest outside of Europe, while both Intel and AMD continued their expansions in Ireland and Germany, respectively. Meanwhile, in the Americas region, spending increased more than 9 percent in 2005, as expansions occurred in all manufacturing segments.

Gartner projects the market returning to positive growth in 2006, and has raised its forecast for capital spending to increase by double digits, up from 8.4 percent previously.

"While we are more optimistic for 2006, we remain cautious as we see a rising risk of oversupply in the memory segment if current projections do not come true," Rinnen said. "Memory-capacity related spending remains hot in 2006, but it is also most vulnerable."

- Spencer Chin
EE Times

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