Litho firms climb up heap in bloody 2008

March 18, 2009 – In a year that ultimately was terrible for the semiconductor industry, a few firms managed to claw their way up the list of sales leaders, though the top firms remain well entrenched, according to data from VLSI Research.

The first thing to note is the flood of “negative growth” in sales, most of which didn’t become clear until well into the second half of the year. Average decline for the top 10 firms was nearly -26%, slightly worse than the total IC manufacturing industry’s -25.1% decline for the year. Nine of the top 15 firms managed to stay ahead of that sinkhole. Only one (#12 Teradyne, +5.5%) managed positive growth at all — and that was largely due to its acquisition of NexTest at the start of the year, plus a brisk business in SoCs.

A mild surprise is ASML taking 2nd place from Tokyo Electron, showing that lithography is taking on a more significant role as semiconductor manufacturing becomes more complex (Canon also climbed up the list to #6 behind Nikon). Also climing up the list were Hitachi High-Tech, Dainippon Screen, ASMI, and aforementioned Teradyne.

It wasn’t a complete rebound for backend firms (which were hit hardest in last year’s rankings.) Advantest saw sales plunge nearly 47%, thanks to its exposure to the memory segment.

Geographically speaking, across the top 15 equipment suppliers, Europe gained a couple of points to 18.7% of revenues, with the US (45.7%) and Japan (35.6%) each losing a point.

(Source: VLSI Research)


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