SEMI: Wafer shipments still growing

August 27, 2004 – Tightening capacity utilization in 2Q04 led to double-digit growth in silicon revenues, according to the SEMI Silicon Manufacturers Group.

Worldwide silicon wafer area shipments increased 6% sequentially in 2Q04 and 27% from a year ago. Total silicon wafer area shipments were 1619 million sq. in. (MSI) during the most recent quarter, up from 1529 MSI in the previous quarter (revised slightly upward from earlier estimates).

Silicon revenues also experienced double-digit growth from 1Q04 and 2Q03 (up 11% and 24%, respectively) as a result of increased prices, greater 300mm sales, and overall strong demand. Robust growth also was shown by still-tightening capacity utilization, which topped 95% in 2Q04, according to John Kaufmann, chairman of SEMI SMG and VP of marketing for MEMC Electronic Materials Inc.

Kaufmann pointed to signs that the industry is making a concerted effort to rein in expenses and growth, in order to soften the inevitable pullback from the market upswing. “Currently, capital expenditures for the industry are running below 20%, as the industry balances incremental capacity increases with growing demand,” he said. Also, he added that productivity is stronger on a revenue/employee basis, as greater volumes and efficiencies are produced without significant increases in employee headcounts.


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