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Fab tool outlook mixed, says Applied CEO

Posted: 22 Nov 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:semiconductor? manufacturing? equipment?

Applied Materials Inc., posted a strong fiscal fourth quarter, performing better than Wall Street's estimates for the fab tool giant.

But the company's outlook is cloudy, according to Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO, as he discussed some observations and predictions during a conference call after the results were posted.

Splinter said that Applied is expecting overall wafer-fab equipment (WFE) sales for 2010 to be between $29 billion and $30 billion, an increase from an earlier forecast of between $26 billion and $28 billion.

The company is "tracking 17 new fabs," which could result in $60 billion in total WFE sales over the next "eight to 12 quarters," he said.

He noted that fab tool growth will be driven by foundry and NAND in 2011 to offset a "pause in DRAM."

Also, Capex for LCD gear will increase up to 75 to 80 percent in 2010, but the fourth quarter will be down, with Capex for LCD gear in 2011 down by about 20 percent.

And the solar tool market is "strong," according to Splinter. Total solar cell installations will hit 19GW to 21GW in 2011, up from about 16GW in 2010. Solar tool capex is expected to be flat in 2011, which will hover around 13GW to 15GW.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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