SAN FRANCISCO—Applied Materials Inc. Wednesday (Aug. 15) said it expects orders and sales to bottom out in its current fiscal quarter thanks to a decline in semiconductor equipment demand.
Applied (Santa Clara, Calif.) said it expected its sales for its fiscal fourth quarter, which closes in October, to decline 25 to 40 percent sequentially. Company executives said it expects sales from its semiconductor equipment business to fall 45 to 50 percent sequentially.
"We are seeing a strong pullback across all categories of semiconductor equipment customers, and this is the primary factor in the near term reduction in earnings for the company," said George Davis, Applied's chief financial officer, in a conference call with analysts following the company's fiscal third quarter report. Despite describing a slowdown in demand, Applied reported third quarter sales in line with analysts' expectations.
"Demand for wafer fabrication equipment has softened dramatically since the first half of the year, with sharp declines in foundry and NAND investment," said Mike Splinter, Applied's Chairman and CEO. "As we look to our fiscal Q4, we see a combination of macroeconomic and industry dynamics contributing to a very weak business environment. We believe this pullback in demand is seasonal, and we expect it to be short-lived, with orders and revenue recovering in our first fiscal quarter."
More blame on macroeconomic doom and gloom, but at least Applied expects sales to improve after this quarter. Interesting that foundry vendors--who earlier this year were keeping Applied and other tool makers on target--are blamed for slowing down orders. But CEO Mike Splinter said he expects foundries to led the way back by improving orders by the end of the calendar year.
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