Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Fab spending down in 2012 — dip in first half, but by mid-year recovery begins

SAN JOSE, USA: Semiconductor fab equipment spending is expected to decline by approximately 11 percent in 2012, according to preliminary data from the SEMI World Fab Forecast report. Spending on fab equipment is expected to drop in the first half of 2012, but will sharply increase in second half of the year to approach $10 billion by the fourth quarter.Source: SEMI, USA.

While fab spending in 2012 (at $35 billion) is a decline from the 2011 level of $39 billion, it is still higher than in 2010. The years 2007, 2011 and 2012 are expected to be the three highest years on record.

Worldwide, Korea is the only region expected to show growth in fab equipment spending in 2012, mainly due to expected spending by Samsung.Source: SEMI, USA.

The current forecast of about 11 percent decline in fab equipment spending for 2012 depends largely on the investment plans of the largest spenders. While some companies have published their plans for 2012, others — including Samsung, Hynix, Intel and TSMC — could announce higher investment plans than anticipated, so fab spending for 2012 could improve, with the overall spending decline at about four percent according to our analysis.

The SEMI World Fab Forecast tracks installed capacity by fab, showing changes when fabs close and when product type or wafer size change. Despite the economic situation, 300mm installed capacity is expected to grow at a steady pace in 2012. In 2011, the installed capacity for 300mm grew by about 13 percent (YoY). The forecast anticipates a small slow down to about 11 percent in 2012 and increasing to about 12-14 percent in 2013.

Compared to three years ago, spending and capacity are much higher. After a dip in the first half of 2012, the industry spending should pick up by mid-2012.

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