SEAJ: Summer heating up Japanese equipment sales

August 2, 2004 – Cries of an impending slowdown in equipment demand weren’t enough to dampen the Japanese equipment industry, which flared back to life in June by posting the most order value in three and a half years.

Worldwide orders for Japanese semiconductor manufacturing equipment were 164.53 billion yen ($1.48 billion), the highest since December 2000, up from 154.31 billion yen ($1.39 billion) in May and 91.48 billion yen ($823.8 million) in June 2003, according to the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ). Near-100% year-on-year increases were seen for wafer processing and assembly, while test/inspection grew 113%. Domestic equipment orders were 85.15 billion yen ($766.8 million), up nearly 18% from May and 29% from a year ago. A dropoff in test equipment was more than erased by strong local demand for wafer processing tools.

Worldwide billings of Japanese chipmaking equipment were 157.02 billion yen ($1.41 billion) in June, up 26% from May, and 94% from June 2003, as sales for most categories increased in a range of 22%-30%. Domestic sales of 75.80 billion yen ($682.6 million) increased 28% from May, and 46% from a year ago, thanks largely to a 39% bump in wafer processing equipment.

Through the first half of 2004, worldwide orders were 472.85 billion yen ($4.26 billion), compared with 263.52 billion yen ($2.37 billion) in 1H03. Domestic bookings were 229.10 billion yen ($2.06 billion), up 24.4% from the same period a year ago. Worldwide sales in 1H04 were 397.69 billion yen ($3.58 billion), up 137% from 1H03, while domestic sales of 197.15 billion yen ($1.78 billion) were up 83% from a year ago.

The worldwide book-to-bill ratio in June was 1.19, up from an even 1.00 in May but down from 1.57 in June 2003. A book-to-bill of 1.19 means that $119 in new orders was received for every $100 of product billed for the month. Domestically, the B:B was 1.16, compared with 1.00 in May and 1.71 a year ago.

According to the SEAJ’s preliminary three-month averages, used as a measure to soften highs and lows, bookings in June were 158.73 billion yen ($1.43 billion), a 2.9% increase from May and 80.7% higher than June 2003. The billings were 132.56 billion yen ($1.19 billion), an increase of 14.3% sequentially and 137% from a year ago. The B:B was 1.20.


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