Semiconductor equipment market remains quiet but hopeful

May 01, 2005

NORTH AMERICAN-BASED manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $1.02 billion in orders in March 2005 (three-month average basis) and registered a book-to-bill ratio of 0.81 according to last month’s Book-to-Bill Report published by SEMI. A book-to-bill of 0.81 means that $81 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.

The bookings figure is nominally below the revised February 2005 level of $1.02 billion and 26% below the $1.38 billion in orders posted in March 2004.

The three-month average of worldwide billings in March 2005 was $1.27 billion, a level 5% below the revised February 2005 level of $1.33 billion and approximately even with the March 2004 billings level of $1.27 billion.

"The overall picture for North America-based manufacturers of new semiconductor equipment remains essentially unchanged," said Stanley Myers, president and CEO of SEMI. "Three-month average total equipment bookings are hovering above the $1 billion dollar level."

On the heels of this announcement comes encouraging news as Intel Corp.’s recent quarterly earnings report provides some comfort that the equipment market will not fall into a worrying decline. The world’s largest chipmaker announced last month that it is increasing the pace of its capital spending program. Capital spending will increase to somewhere between $5.4 and $5.8 billion, an upward revision of its earlier projection of $4.9 to $5.3 billion.

SEMI is a global industry association serving companies that develop and provide manufacturing technology and materials to the global semiconductor, flat-panel display, MEMS and related microelectronics industries. Its book-to-bill is a ratio of three-month moving averages of worldwide bookings and billings for North American-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers.