Chip equipment makers looking at 20 percent decline in 2008

Sales of the specialized equipment used to manufacture chips are expected to fall 20 percent in 2008, according to a mid-year forecast by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International, a trade group for the industry holding its annual SEMICON West exposition in San Francisco.

The drop in sales follows a six percent increase the year before and is blamed primarily on lower spending among makers of memory chips and a “less than favorable device pricing environment,” according to Stanley Myers, chief executive of SEMI in a statement.

The group expects sales to rebound over the following two years, rising 13 percent in 2009 and six percent in 2010.

Wafer processing equipment, the largest segment by dollar value, is expected to contract 21 percent in 2008 to $25.4 billion. The market for assembly and packaging equipment is forecast to fall 14 percent to $2.44 billion, while the semiconductor test equipment market is set to decline 20 percent to $4.04 billion.

The trade group says it anticipated that growth is “anticipated to be negative in all regions, except China, where equipment sales are projected to increase one percent over 2007. The market for new equipment market in China is expected to surpass all other regions this year.


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