May 4, 2005 – Japanese semiconductor equipment manufacturers closed out their fiscal year on an up note, after what largely was a slumping year for their industry.
Worldwide bookings for Japanese equipment in March were 159.99 billion yen (US$1.53 billion), up 89.7% from February and 3.5% from a year ago, the first year-on-year increase in seven months, according to the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ). Billings in March totaled 203.99 billion yen ($1.95 billion), up 79.7% month-on-month but down 8.7% year-on-year, the second consecutive decline despite strong regional sales in Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The book-to-bill ratio was 0.81, meaning that $81 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.
The three-month average of bookings in March rose to 115.38 billion yen ($1.10 billion), a 14.5% increase from February but a 14.1% decline from March 2004. For billings, the three-month average increased 17.5% from the previous month to 142.45 billion yen ($1.36 billion), but also was down year-on-year by 4.4%.
For the fiscal year ended in March, global orders for Japanese equipment totaled 1.55 trillion yen ($14.80 billion), a 9.8% increase from FY03. Sales of 1.60 trillion yen ($15.27 billion) fared much better, up 36.9% year-on-year. Most of the increases were due to heavy capital investments in 1H04.
In the domestic market for Japanese chipmaking equipment, bookings rocketed 171.4% from February to 114.11 billion yen ($1.09 billion), with a year-on-year growth clip of 41.3%. Sales also more than doubled (+135.6%) to 97.39 billion yen ($929.6 million), but decreased year-on-year by 5.2%. The domestic B:B was 0.96, better than February’s 0.85 and 0.87 in March 2004. For FY04, domestic orders totaled 796.11 billion yen ($7.60 billion), up 4.9% from FY03, while sales rose 19.4% to 791.82 billion yen ($7.56 billion).