SEMI revises fab capex forecast down, still record year


SEMI has revised its World Fab Forecast to a 23% year-on-year increase, down from the 31% growth forecast in May. Capital expenditure on semiconductor fabs will still increase to $41.1 billion in 2011, the highest spending amount on record. Decreased consumer confidence and spending have led some semiconductor companies to cut back on fab spending plans, said Christian Gregor Dieseldorff, senior analyst of fab information in SEMI's Industry Research and Statistics group. Still, a number of companies are maintaining their stated capex plans, and some have even announced slight increases.

Fab equipment spending, new and used, in US $B. (Source: SEMI)

In 2011, SEMI counts 223 facilities spending on equipment of which 77 projects are for LED-dedicated facilities. The Americas lead 2011 fab spending thanks mainly to Intel and Samsung. Next year, 190 facilities will start or continue equipping, with 72 LED projects; although spending will decline, the total may still be the second highest on record. Korea is predicted to step ahead of the Americas with over $10 billion in fab equipment spending, followed by Taiwan.

In line with the revised forecast, capacity ramp will slow to 6.8% (vs. 9.3% predicted in May). But the industry may not be able to respond to rapidly increasing demand, for example in the NAND flash market. It takes about 1.5 years to bring a fab from ground breaking to volume production, so in order to see capacity ramp increase in 2012 or 2013, construction projects must start now.???M.C.

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