TEL orders improving, plant back on track

December 4, 2009 – Tokyo Electron Ltd. has raised its expectations for chip tool orders in the current quarter, and reportedly will resume plans to build a new factory near Sendai, according to local reports.

Orders for the company’s fiscal 3Q (Oct-Dec.), which had been projected to be flat with the July-Sept. quarter’s ~$1.1B, "look to be much better than we thought they would be," according to company president Hiroshi Takenaka, quoted by Reuters during this week’s SEMICON Japan. Analysts cited the swell in demand is due in part to DRAM makers trying to submit orders ahead of the year-end expiration of tax incentives. The company recently hiked its earnings estimates to a -¥35B/$398B loss, citing business from Samsung and Taiwan foundries TSMC and UMC, but that’s still below Street expectations of a -¥27B/$307M loss.

The influx of new business has prompted the company to revisit its planned new facility in the town of Taiwa-cho near its R&D center, which had been expected to break ground in April 2009 and go online in April 2010 but was put on hold as the market tanked. New details of the estimated ¥20B-30B ($227M-$341M) project have not been updated, but the Nikkei daily expects a similar timeline, with construction beginning by the end of March and operations beginning within a year.


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