EL SEGUNDO, USA: Global semiconductor revenue in the first quarter rose by 2 percent compared to the fourth quarter, exceeding previous expectations, according to iSuppli Corp.
Semiconductor industry revenue in the first quarter amounted to $70.6 billion, up 2 percent from $69.2 billion in the fourth quarter. iSuppli’s previous estimate was for 1.1 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.
Sequential revenue growth in the first quarter is a highly unusual event in the semiconductor industry. The first-quarter typically is a slower season of the year for chip sales compared even to the fourth quarter. The third quarter is typically the strongest quarter for sequential growth.
However, growth in the first quarter shows that the semiconductor industry is headed for a boom year in 2010.
“The first three months of 2010 delivered the fourth consecutive quarter of sequential growth in semiconductor revenues—the longest period of consecutive expansion in the industry since 2004,” said Dale Ford, senior vice president, market intelligence services, for iSuppli.
“Out of the more than 150 leading semiconductor suppliers tracked by iSuppli on a quarterly basis, only six saw their revenue decline in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the first quarter of 2009. Two-thirds of these suppliers were able to grow or maintain flat revenues from the fourth quarter of 2009 to the first quarter 2010. This represents a testament to the broad-based strength of the semiconductor industry recovery since the market hit bottom in early 2009.”
Among the world’s Top-10 semiconductor suppliers, six managed to expand their revenue in the first quarter of 2010 compared to the fourth quarter of 2009.
The table presents iSuppli’s ranking of the Top-10 semiconductor suppliers in the first quarter of 2010.Source: iSuppli, USA.
Ranking renaissance for Renesas
Newly-formed semiconductor supplier Renesas Electronics Corp. made a strong debut on the semiconductor Top 10 list in the first quarter, coming in at No. 5.
Renesas was formed from the merger of Renesas Technology and NEC Electronics and commenced business operations on April 1. The combined revenues of the two companies gave Renesas revenue of $2.9 billion and a market share of 4.1 percent in the first quarter of 2010.
“The creation of Renesas Electronics has resulted in the establishment of a market share powerhouse in the Microcontroller (MCU) market,” Ford said. “Prior to the merger, Renesas Technology and NEC Electronics were the No. 1 one and No. 2 suppliers of MCUs. As the No. 1 supplier of MCUs, Renesas Electronics in the first quarter generated more than 3.5 times the revenue of the next closest MCU supplier: Freescale Semiconductor.”
This kind of market share domination is surpassed in only two other segments of the semiconductor business: in microprocessors, with industry giant Intel Corp.—and in Digital Signal Processors (DSPs), with front-runner Texas Instruments Inc.
Renesas Electronics also places in the top rankings of a wide array of semiconductor markets tracked by iSuppli. The company in the first quarter ranked among the Top 10 suppliers in 13 separate market segments and sub segments. It also is ranked among the top five in eight segments: general purpose logic, display drivers, application specific logic, logic ASICs, analog ASICs, discrete components, radio frequency and microwave components and Small signal and other discretes.
Macro growth for Micron
The strongest performance among the Top 10 suppliers was posted by Micron Technology Inc., which achieved a stunning 14.1 percent increase in revenue in the first quarter to $1.8 billion, up from $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter.
Micron benefitted from strong revenue growth in DRAM. The DRAM market represented one of the hottest segments of the global semiconductor industry in the first quarter, with revenue rising by 8.8 percent to $9.4 billion, up from $8.7 billion in the fourth quarter.
On the opposite end of the scale was STMicroelectronics, suffered a 10 percent decline in revenue compared to the fourth quarter. However, STMicroelectronics’ revenues grew by more than 40 percent compared to the first quarter of 2009, which compares favorably to other non-memory suppliers among the top semiconductor makers.
Source: iSuppli, USA.