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Photomask market to grow 4.3% in 2006

Posted: 09 May 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Peter Clarke? The Information Network? photomask market?

After posting annual gains of 18.7 percent in 2004 and 9.7 percent in 2005, the semiconductor photomask market will grow 4.3 percent in 2006, reaching sales of $3.2 billion, according to The Information Network, a market research company.

"While the semiconductor market is anticipated to grow strongly in 2006, demand for photomasks is directly a function of design activity rather than sales volume from products using photomasks. Therefore, an increase in the semiconductor market does not necessarily translate to an increase in photomask sales," said Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network.

For 2006, more than 50 percent of the largest capital spenders are directed at memory production expansions, and first and second tier memory vendors are aggressively expanding capacity in 2006, Castellano said.

These changes in the mix of semiconductors towards memory will affect the type and quantity of photomasks utilized. Since DRAM masks are used for a relatively large number of wafers, the market research company projects a reduction in the amount of photomasks manufactured in 2006.

The Japanese market grew 21 percent on a revenue basis in 2005 to nearly 45 percent of the worldwide market, while North America remained flat at $327 million which represented about 10.6 percent of the market. European production of photomasks grew at a moderate 3.9 percent.

- Peter Clarke
EE Times

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