Q3 semiconductor tool capex pull-back: Seasonal, expect Q4 uptick

July 12, 2012 — Barclays Capital is seeing various reasons for a Q3 2012 semiconductor fab order/shipment pull-back, following meetings around SEMICON West 2012 this week.

Barclays expects that TSMC’s pushout of its Fab 14 phase 2 caused Applied Materials to lower its revenue forecast for front-end semiconductor tools. Despite well-known shortages at 28nm for Qualcomm (QCOM), Nvidia (NVDA), AMD, and other chip suppliers, TSMC is likely hesitant to add capacity until it improves its 28nm high-k metal gate (HKMG) yields. Barclays interprets this situation as leaving lithography and process control orders intact, while more capacity driven players would see a delay. Other factors in the Q3 lull include a retrofit at Samsung’s Austin fab and a modest pushout at Fab 16.

Read more analysis on the Q3 dip from Citi here.

The “air-pocket” emphasized by AMAT and other front-end names was largely corroborated by the subsystem players, Barclays reports.

A combination of optimism on increasing capital intensity, foundry competition, and 14nm Intel and 20nm foundry investments are contributing to optimism about Q4 orders, and a solid capex year in 2013, Barclays analysts report. Therefore, the Q3 pause is seen as a typical seasonal — not cyclical — lull.

Read the full report at http://live.barcap.com/PRC/servlets/dv.search?contentPubID=FC1838098&bcllink=decode.

Check out Solid State Technology’s coverage of SEMICON West 2012!


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