Despite the industry’s general belief in an imminent market upswing, data from industry analysts continue to suggest that the goodwill has yet to translate into dollars for equipment makers.
North American-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $720.6 million in orders in August 2003 and a book-to-bill ratio of 0.91, according to Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI). A book-to-bill of 0.91 means that $91 worth of new orders was received for every $100 of product billed for the month. The book-to-bill last achieved the parity level of 1.0 in September 2002, and has hovered just below that mark in all of 2003.
The orders, which represent the three-month average of worldwide bookings, are up 2% from July’s total of $706.9 million, and represent a 29% drop from the $1.02 billion posted a year ago. The book-to-bill is relatively flat with July’s book-to-bill ratio of 0.90 — and both July’s orders and book-to-bill were downwardly adjusted by more than 7% from SEMI’s earlier estimates.
The three-month average of worldwide billings in August was $789.9 million, a slight gain from the revised July level of $785.9 million, and 21% below August 2002 billings of $969 million.
Although chip utilization continues to close in on 90%, this has “not yet translated into significant improvement” for equipment makers, for whom orders and sales “have remained essentially flat over the past several months,” according to Dan Tracy, SEMI’s director of industry research and statistics.