June 9, 2006 – The latest batch of midquarter outlooks are out from several semiconductor manufacturers and equipment suppliers, with mixed results.
Business is up at Novellus Systems Inc., thanks to demand from NAND flash and DRAM memory chipmakers. The company now says 2Q06 revenues will be up by 5%-8% to a range of $400-$410 million, and bookings are seen coming in at $435-$450 million, a 4%-8% increase from 1Q. The company also has boosted shipment targets by $20 million to a range of $445-$455 million. EPS is projected to be $0.37-$0.40, and gross margins will be about 49% of sales, up a tick from previous guidance.
Texas Instruments says revenue will be slightly higher than anticipated for 2Q06, with the low-end of expected revenues raised about 5% to $3.63 billion, and EPS will be hiked to $0.46-$0.48 vs. the previous range of $0.38-$0.43. The company cited gains from a $77 million tax benefit, and a $70 million cash payment from Conexant Systems Inc. to settle patent litigation. TI also raised the bottom end of its semiconductor revenue projections by nearly 9%, to a range of $3.45-$3.59 billion vs. earlier projections of $3.29-$3.56 billion. The better outlook for the semiconductor unit reflects increased unit sales and an improved mix, with DLP, wireless base stations, and HPA tracking above expectation, according to a research note by Susquehanna Financial Group semiconductor analyst Kevin Vassily.
Kulicke & Soffa reiterated its previous guidance for June quarter revenues of $155 million plus or minus 5%, and said September levels would be about flat — but perhaps by selling fewer bonders but offset by gold revenue. Despite generally good outlooks and optimism from customers, they aren’t willing to invest in longer-term expansion of wire bonders, noted chairman Scott Kulicke, during what he noted was the company’s final midquarter update — due to reduced visibility, “we no longer feel we have anything meaningful to say in these calls,” he said. Customers are placing orders for virtually immediate delivery, and not committing to capital expansion except to support business at hand.
Electroglas Inc. also lowered its fiscal 4Q06 revenue expectations to a range of $13-$14 million, below the $14-$16 million guidance it provided in March, although that still represents a 20% year-on-year increase. Customer evaluations of the company’s EG 6000 300mm tool are taking longer than expected, noted CVEO Tom Rohrs.
Singapore foundry Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing reiterated its 2Q06 guidance of about $359-$367 million, a 1%-3% increase from 1Q, and earnings/American depository share slipping to $0.03-$0.07, from $0.09 in the prior quarter. “The quarter is progressing essentially in line with what we had anticipated earlier,” stated George Thomas, SVP and CFO.
Brooks Automation Inc. also reiterated previous guidance for its fiscal 3Q06 ending in June: Bookings of $185-$193 million, revenues of $170-$180 million, and GAAP earnings of between $0.14-$0.20/share, including approximately $0.09/share in charges and special items.