Japan equipment firms’ results “sharply divided”

November 21, 2007 – A scan of fiscal 1H07 earnings reported by several Japanese chip equipment firms indicate “sharply divided” performance, with frontend process firms generally doing better than backend counterparts, notes the Nikkei Business Daily.

On the good side: litho, etch, and coating firms. TEL and Hitachi Kokusai Electric both posted double-digit growth in both sales and operating profit, while Disco also enjoyed strong earnings, the paper noted.

Meanwhile, “sluggish sales” weighed down Advantest, where profits sunk nearly 13% Y-Y to 23.1B yen (US ~$210M), and Yokogawa Electric also logged an operating loss, of about 2.3B yen ($20M).

The paper noted that gauging near-term performance of equipment suppliers is increasingly uncertain, thanks to still-softening DRAM prices (spot prices for 512Mb DRAM dipped below $1/unit), and resulting red ink hemorrhaging from firms including Micron and Nanya. Meanwhile, large-lot prices for NAND, which had been comfortingly strong, also are seen softening entering the final stretch of the year.


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