Semicon spending to fall in 2012

Industry expected to spend approximately 11 percent less on fab equipment than in 2012, although second half investments should rise, new report shows.
Written by Kevin Kwang, Contributor

Spending for semiconductor equipment in 2012 is expected to decline by approximately 11 percent from last year, due mainly to the forecasted slowdown in the first half of the year. Investments should pick up in the latter part of the year though.

According to SEMI's (Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International) preliminary data from its World Fab Forecast report, fab spending is expected to reach US$35 billion this year, which is a decline from 2011's US$39 billion. That's still higher than 2010's figures though, it stated.

"The years of 2007, 2011 and 2012 are expected to be the three highest years on record," said Terry Tsao, president of SEMI Southeast Asia, in a statement.

The current forecasted decline is largely dependent on the investment plans of the largest industry stakeholders, SEMI noted. Since not all have published their plans for the year, including Samsung, Hynix, Intel and TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing), the final forecast could see overall spending fall by just 4 percent from 2011, it said.

Tsao also stated that after a dip in spending in the first half of the year, there would be an expected rebound by mid-2012 and investments are projected to approach US$10 billion by the fourth quarter.

Gartner had earlier revised its revenue forecast for the industry downward, from 8.6 percent to 4.6 percent, due to worsening macroeconomic outlook and fears of sales prospects deteriorating further.

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