SAN JOSE, Calif. - Amid a recovery in the fab tool segment-including ATE-North America-based manufacturers of semiconductor equipment posted a book-to-bill ratio of 1.23 in July, up from 1.18 in June, according to SEMI.
A book-to-bill of 1.23 means that $123 worth of orders was received for every $100 of product billed for the month. The SEMI book-to-bill is a ratio of three-month moving averages of worldwide bookings and billings for North American-based semiconductor equipment manufacturers.
"The July report shows continued momentum in the market for new semiconductor manufacturing equipment," said Stanley Myers, president and CEO of SEMI, in a statement. "While there are some questions about the semiconductor industry sustaining its strong growth trends in the second half of this year, bookings for new equipment continue to increase and are at the highest levels recorded since January 2001.”
The three-month average of worldwide bookings in July 2010 was $1.83 billion. The bookings figure is up 5.9 percent from the final June 2010 level of $1.73 billion, and is 220.4 percent above the $571.8 million in orders posted in July 2009.
The three-month average of worldwide billings in July 2010 was $1.49 billion. The billings figure is up 1.8 percent from the final June 2010 level of $1.47 billion, and is 177.6 percent above the July 2009 billings level of $538.0 million.
Japan's fab tool makers are also seeing huge demand. On a three-month rolling average basis, semiconductor manufacturing equipment vendors based in Japan booked 125.4 billion yen ($1.47 billion) worth of orders in July and had a book-to-bill ratio of 1.53, up from 1.4 in June, according to the Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ) trade group this week.
Most equipment makers are up. For example, leading chip manufacturing equipment vendor Applied Materials Inc. this week beat analyst expectations for the quarter ended Aug. 1 and executives said the company is experiencing strong demand for older process equipment.
Applied ''indicated that business levels remain intact with silicon visibility extending well into (the) January quarter,'' said C.J. Muse, an analyst with Barclay's Capital, in a report.
''AMAT reported a better-than-expected F3Q10 and provided higher guidance,'' added
Edwin Mok, an analyst with Needham & Co. LLC, in a report.
Even ATE, which was lagging in the recovery party, is seeing an upturn. ATE vendor Verigy Ltd. reported financial results for its third quarter ended July 31. Loss-ridden Verigy moved into the black in the quarter.
Revenue for the third quarter was $154 million, an increase of 28 percent from the prior quarter and an increase of 77 percent from the comparable prior year period. Net income for the third quarter was $13 million, or $0.21 per share, compared to a net loss of $1 million, or minus $0.02 per share last quarter, and a net loss of $21 million, or minus $0.36 per share, in the prior year period.
Results for the third quarter included approximately $1.6 million of charges related to the company’s restructuring actions and manufacturing transition.
“During the quarter, we continued our momentum in product innovation, customer wins, and strengthening our financial model,” said Keith Barnes, Verigy chairman and chief executive, in a statement.
For the fourth quarter ending October 31, 2010, the company is providing the following outlook: Revenue is expected to be in the range of $157 million to $167 million. Earnings per share are expected to be in the range of $0.22 to $0.27.
Another loss-ridden vendor, LTX-Credence Corp., is enjoying the party. The company recently announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2010.
Sales for the quarter were $56,069,000, up 17 percent from the prior quarter sales of $48,000,000. Net income for the quarter was $6,829,000, or $0.05 per share on a GAAP basis.
Japan's Advantest Corp. also recently moved into profitable numbers after a string of losses. Another ATE vendor, Teradyne Inc., is hot and outperforming the rest of the field. ''While the typical semi playbook suggests selling, we believe Teradyne is a very different story today. We do not expect Teradyne to lose money at the trough,'' Muse said in a separate report.