Analyst: Photomask market rebounding in 2007

June 7, 2007 – The market for lithography photomasks continued to slow in 2006, reaching $2.2 billion (5.4% growth), but should pick up again in 2007 thanks to increased demand from the logic segment which uses more and higher-priced masks, according to a report from The Information Market.

Photomask sales have slowed for two years, since 18% in 2004 and 8% growth in 2005, loosely tracking trends in semiconductor sales, though photomask demand is driven more by design activity than semiconductor sales volumes, noted Robert Castellano, president of the market research firm.

This year Castellano expects about an 8% increase in photomask sales, as the impact of a big slowdown in the memory market (+2% vs. 21% in 2006) is offset by more demand from the logic segment (+7% this year), which uses more masks and at a higher price, he noted.

Toppan led the worldwide merchant market in 2006 with a 40.4% share, followed by Dainippon Printing with 32.9%. Best growth among merchant providers went to Compugraphics (14%), vs. 9% for DNP and 6% for Toppan. US-based Photronics actually saw sales slip by 2%.

Regionally, Japan and Asia each saw their contributions to the worldwide photomask market grow by about 10%, together accounting for 77% of the total market. The US dropped 9% to $307 million, the firm noted.


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