April 21, 2006 – A late-year ramp in demand was not enough to prevent lower 2005 sales for suppliers of critical subsystems for the semiconductor, flat-panel display, and data storage manufacturing industries, according to data from VLSI Research Inc.
2005 “was a good year for suppliers of critical subsystems,” with many suppliers turning a profit, according to John West, VLSI’s UK-based research project manager, in a statement. However, a strong ramp in demand late in the year was not enough to pull overall yearly sales out of negative territory. The entire critical subsystems segment achieved revenues of $5.2 billion in 2005, a 8.2% decline from the prior year.
The top ten critical subsystems suppliers were generally the usual suspects, although several changed positions in the rankings. Carl Zeiss SMT AG regained the top spot in the ranking from BOC Edwards, due to demand for high-value lenses for 193nm lithography tools. (BOC, it should be noted, has agreed to be acquired by Linde, creating what would be the world’s largest gas supplier. Linde has stated its intention to be a “pure-play” gas supplier, fueling speculation that the BOC equipment business could be up for sale in the near future.)
Brooks Automation’s merger with Helix Technologies, completed in late 2005, pushed the company into the fourth spot ahead of Advanced Energy. Horiba beat out Alcatel Vacuum for the No. 10 spot on the list.
VLSI noted that more realigning of the subsystems rankings is expected due to late-year mergers, including Brooks-Helix, as well as Celerity’s acquisition of Mykrolis’ mass flow control business.
2005 rank 2004 rank Company 2005 sales
1 2 Carl Zeiss 539
2 1 BOC Edwards 506
3 3 MKS Instruments 388
4 5 Brooks Automation 239
5 4 Advanced Energy 230
6 6 Cymer 207
7 7 Asyst Technologies 138
8 9 Leybold Vakuum 118
9 8 Ebara 112
10 11 Horiba 101
Source: VLSI Research