Semiconductor Manufacturers See 2006 As Biggest Year Ever

Semiconductor equipment manufacturers expect a large growth spurt of 18% in 2006, pushing sales to hit the $35.8 billion mark.. This is in contrast to an 11.3% decline in 2005 according to the SEMI Capital Equipment Consensus Forecast.

The survey, conducted by the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials Institute (SEMI), reported that survey respondents see a flat market for 2007 but a double-digit growth in 2008 which should cause sales to reach $44.1 billion.

"Favorable economic conditions, increased demand for semiconductor devices and stable inventory levels have stimulated capital investment by the world's chip makers in the first half of the year," said SEMI President and CEO Stanley T. Myers. "SEMI members anticipate strong sales of chip manufacturing equipment in 2006. Furthermore, they anticipate less dramatic fluctuations in future cycles consistent with end-market growth and long term diversification trends in consumer electronics."

Looking at specific products, the wafer processing equipment segment will experience the most significant level of growth in 2006 of an estimated 20% reaching $27.4 billion iin sale.. Assembly and packaging equipment will grow 11.6% to $2.4 billion, and the market for equipment to test semiconductors is expected to grow about 14 % to $6 billion.

From a geographical standpoint, China will lead the growth for new equipment with a 78% increase. Taiwan is expected to grow 22% and North America 21%. Equipment sales in Europe are projected to raise 14%, while Korea and Japan will see growth in the high single digits.

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