Analyst: Litho sales top 2000 record

January 25, 2007 – The semiconductor lithography market expanded at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the equipment industry in 2006 to top $6.7 billion, finally eclipsing the $6.0 billion mark achieved back in 2000, according to new data from The Information Network.

The litho market surged 40% in 2006, vs. 23% for the entire semiconductor frontend equipment market, due in part to “significant increases” in average selling prices (ASPs) caused by a shift to more advanced ArF systems, noted Robert Castellano, president of the analyst firm. Litho ASPs rose 15% during the year, while unit shipments increased 22%, he pointed out. On a unit basis, KrF tools still led the market with 38% share of shipments in 2006, though immersion DUV units surged fourfold to 29 units sold.

ASML is seen increasing its marketshare lead in 2006 to 60.8% of the $4.8 billion market for new litho tools, up from 53.5% in 2005, taking share from both rivals, Nikon (24.5%, vs. 30.0% in 2005) and Canon (14.7% vs. 16.7%). Castellano pointed out that the vast majority (60%) of Canon’s tool sales were for less-expensive i-line tools (~$3.25 million each), with no wet tool sales reported.

While projecting 2007 to be a slightly down year for the overall semiconductor equipment market, Castellano thinks the litho tool sector will rise another 11% in 2007 to $7.4 billion, because of a better mix of more higher-priced wet tools offsetting slightly fewer unit shipments.

He also projects another heavy surge (38.2%) in litho sales to $10.2 billion in 2008, as semiconductor companies “catch their breath” and install the excess equipment purchased in 2006. Unit shipments will grow about 18%, with ASPs rising at about the same rate, he noted. Also, by then “the 65nm node will be in full production, requiring a substantial amount of dry ArF tools, currently priced in the $17-$25 million range,” he added.

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