May 29, 2008 – Investments to tool up semiconductor fabs will be down about -17% this year (a mild downgrade from earlier projections of -15%), but look for a rebound of +12% growth in 2009 as postponed fab projects come back into focus, according to data from SEMI’s World Fab Forecast.
Samsung, the Toshiba/SanDisk “Flash Alliance” JV, and Intel are seen as the biggest capex spenders in 2008. Most are investing overseas, though a big chunk of Samsung’s spending is going to its Austin, TX facility, while Intel is upgrading its fabs in Arizona and New Mexico.
In 2009, look for more spending from those three companies, as well as major projects from Rexchip, TSMC and UMC, Promos, and Hynix.
Geographically, worst hit regions for fab investment declines are Southeast Asia (-40%) and Taiwan (-33%), though each also will enjoy a resulting surge in 2009 (50% and 80%, respectively). Spending in the Americas is seen declining both this year and next, while China and Europe/Mideast are seen growing both years. Spending in Japan and South Korea is seen as slow but improving, from negative double-digits in 2008 to negative single-digits in 2009.
In terms of fab construction, look for increases in Southeast Asia (+160%, mainly due to IM Flash’s planned megafab in Singapore), and also in South Korea
Meanwhile, while spending and construction are down, global fab capacity should eke out slight growth in 2008 (after a +17% jump in 2007) and in 2009, in the high single to low double-digit range. Look for the long-awaited crossover of 200mm vs. 300mm capacity in 3Q08, SEMI says.