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S&P Survey Predicts Semiconductor Turnaround
Feb 2003
NEW YORK, Feb. 20 -- Worldwide semiconductor equipment sales will grow 5 to 10 percent in 2003, a turnaround from the 2001-2002 back-to-back drops of 41 percent and 33 percent, according to an analysis of Standard & Poor's Industry Survey on Semiconductor Equipment

Richard Tortoriello, semiconductor equipment equity analyst and author of the survey, attributed the predicted recovery to increased spending by memory chip makers on next-generation 300 mm wafer fabs, which he says will enable significant cost savings over 200 mm fabs; to restructuring of semiconductor businesses large Japanese electronics makers who have begun investing in new equipment after a two-year spending drought, and to an expected reduction in spending by large North American device manufacturers, which have spent heavily over the past few years. Tortoriello said the foundry business remains "a wild card," with capital spending levels dependent on demand for electronics end-products, particularly for consumer-oriented products. "Currently, however, we expect spending by the foundry industry to decline year over year," he said.

The survey also examines issues affecting the main segments of the chip manufacturing industry, including the effects of the outsourcing of semiconductor manufacturing, the drive toward deep ultraviolet photolithography, copper interconnect technology and the adoption of larger (300 mm) wafer sizes. It also look at key players in the semiconductor equipment industry, such as Applied Materials Inc.

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