SEMI: North American book-to-bill remains above parity

December 29, 2003 – Semiconductor equipment sales and orders in November stayed above the parity mark for consecutive months for the first time since August 2002, according to Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI).

North American-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted $930.4 million in orders in November, up 6.8% from October’s revised total of $871.0 million, and 20% above the $777 million posted in November 2002. The bookings, representing a three-month average, have risen for four consecutive months, and are at their highest mark since September 2002.

The three-month average of worldwide billings in November was $893.1 million, a 3.1% gain from October’s upwardly revised level of $866.5 million, and 8.5% below October 2002 billings of $976 million. Billings have now increased for six consecutive months, and continue to rebound on a year-on-year comparison basis, after being down 13% in October and 23% in September.

The book-to-bill in November was 1.04, building upon October’s mark of 1.0 and marking five consecutive months of growth. A book-to-bill of 1.04 means that $104 worth of new orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month. At this time last year, the book-to-bill was mired in a three-month slump at around 0.8.

The continued growth in orders provides more evidence that 2004 will usher in a robust upswing for semiconductor equipment manufacturers, said SEMI president and CEO Stanley Myers. In SEMI’s year-end consensus forecast, released at SEMICON Japan (see WaferNews, V10n49, December 8, 2003), worldwide equipment manufacturers indicated they are anticipating growth of 8% in 2003, and ballooning to 38.6% growth next year — more than the 24% they predicted just six months ago.


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