Equipment book-to-bill ratios diverge in U.S., Japan
4/23/2012 1:23 PM EDT
SAN FRANCISCO—The three-month rolling average book-to-bill ratio for North America-based semiconductor capital equipment vendors improved for the sixth straight month in March, according to a report by the SEMI fab tool vendor trade group.
The book-to-bill ratio for North America-based chip equipment vendors, on a three-month average basis, was 1.13 in March, up from 1.01 in February, according to SEMI. A book-to-bill of 1.13 means that $113 worth of orders were received for every $100 of product billed for the month.
The three-month average of worldwide bookings for North American chip equipment vendors was $1.32 billion in March, up 11 percent from February and down 6 percent from March 2011, SEMI said. The three-month average of worldwide billings for the same group of vendors was $1.31 billion in March, down 1 percent from February and down 21 percent from March 2011, SEMI said.
"Equipment orders continue to increase and have improved to the highest reported value since July 2011," said Denny McGuirk, president and CEO of SEMI, in a statement. "The semiconductor equipment market outlook has strengthened since the beginning of the year as reflected in the increasing bookings rate."
But while the book-to-bill ratio for North American chip equipment vendors has been on the rise, the book-to-bill for equipment makes based in Japan has been headed in the opposite direction. The Semiconductor Equipment Association of Japan (SEAJ), SEMI's Japanese counterpart, reported that the book-to-bill for Japanese chip equipment vendors declined for the third straight month in March.
Japanese equipment vendors posted a book-to-bill ratio on a three-month average basis of 0.78 in March, down from 0.98 in February, according to SEAJ.
Fab tool makers based in Japan posted three-month average bookings of 98.39 billion yen (about $1.21 billion), down 1 percent from February and down 15 percent from March 2011, SEAJ said. Japanese tool makers reported three-month average billings of 125.56 billion yen (about $1.55 billion) in March, up 23 percent from February and up 3 percent from March 2011, SEAJ said.