from  – 7/17/2007 – Electronic News

SEMI: Equipment market is ‘fundamentally flat’
By Ann Steffora Mutschler, Senior Editor — Electronic News, 7/17/2007

SAN FRANCISCO – Considering the number of analysts predicting a weak year for the overall semiconductor market, its no surprise that manufacturing equipment vendors expect 2007 to be nearly flat compared to 2006, according to SEMI’s mid-year capital equipment consensus forecast, released here at the Semicon West conference.

Driven by continued investment in 300-mm technology and growing investment in 45-nm tools, SEMI’s forecast indicates just 1 percent growth for the semiconductor manufacturing equipment market to $40.9 billion, following 23 percent growth in 2006. Respondents to SEMI’s survey expect approximately 7 percent growth in 2008, and approximately 4 percent growth to reach $45.5 billion in 2009.

The wafer processing equipment segment is expected to show the most significant level of growth this year at an estimated 4 percent to $29.8 billion, while the market for assembly and packaging equipment is believed to remain flat at $2.5 billion, and the market for equipment to test semiconductors is expected to decline about 8 percent to $5.9 billion this year.

On a geographic basis, the market in Taiwan for new equipment is expected to leads the growth trend in 2007, with a projected market increase of greater than 20 percent, followed by China at about 15 percent growth, and Korea at about 1 percent growth. Japan is expected to remain flat, while North America and Europe expect declines of about 9 percent, and the rest of world expects a decline of about 14 percent.

SEMI noted in its presentation Monday that the mid-year consensus forecast is based on interviews conducted between late May and June 2007 with companies representing a majority of the total sales volume for the global semiconductor equipment industry.

Despite the dour forecast, industry players seem to be taking it in stride and recognize this is just another ebb in the cyclical nature of the semiconductor industry.

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