LONDON – Only six of the top 35 chip-making companies are planning to increase capital expenditure in 2012 compared with 2011, according to market analysis company IC Insights Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.).
The six are Intel, Samsung, Hynix, TSMC, UMC, and Rohm. Those six are likely to be responsible for about two-thirds of fab spending in 2012. Back in November 2010 another market analysis firm, Gartner, produced a ranking which showed 11 companies in the billion-dollar-per-year capex club in 2011. It is not clear from IC Insights how many are still in that club but according to IC Insights there are just three companies in the five-billion-dollar-per-year capex club.
With an increase of $1.7 billion, Intel is expected to post the biggest dollar increase in capital expenditure for 2012, though it is likely to trail Samsung in overall capex for the year. The third club member is TSMC.
Despite the fact that just six companies are increasing spending on an annual basis IC Insights has raised its forecast for total semiconductor capital spending for 2012 to $63.3 billion from $60.7 billion.
As a result the total 2012 semiconductor industry capital expenditures are now forecast to decline by 3 percent this year as compared to the previous expectation of an 8 percent decline.
It is never safe to assume and in areas like semiconductor capex the swings year-to-year can be large.
Given that IC Insights is predicting a 3.5 percent annual fall in total semiconductor capex for 2012 the implication is that the rest of the industry is reducing its aggregate capex by slightly more than these top six are increaseing their capex.
The majority of the spending will be in the "home" country of each of the companies.
SO Intel mainly in the US some in Europe at Leixlip; Samsung and Hynix mainly in South Korea, TSMC and UMC mainly in Taiwan and so on.
So U.S. and Asia but more Asia than U.S. and not very much Europe at all.
@MP- I'll let Peter offer his own answer when it's morning time in London, but I personally am not aware of any major chip makers lowering capex for 2012. Intel said earlier this week that it would trim it's R&D and SG&A spending estimate for the year slightly, but it kept its capex estimate intact.
@Peter Clarke, is it safe it assume the remaining are on par for CapEx spending in 2012? What about companies that have announced decrease in CapEx for 2012?
Overall, it is sad to see fewer chairs at the table!