Strong fab equipment spending expected in 2015; Slowing but positive 2016

SEMI today announced an update of the SEMI World Fab Forecast report which updates outlooks for 2015 and 2016. The SEMI report reveals that fab equipment spending in 2014 increased almost 20 percent and will rise 15 percent in 2015, increasing only 2-4 percent in 2016. Since November 2014, SEMI has made 270 updates on its World Fab Forecast report, which tracks fab spending for construction and equipment, as well as capacity changes, and technology nodes transitions and product type changes by fab.

2013

2014

2015

2016

Fab equipment*

$29.4

$35.2

$40.5

$41 to $42

Change % Fab equipment

-10.0%

19.8%

15.0%

2% to 4%

Fab construction US$

$8.8

$7.7

$5.2

$6.9

Change % construction

13.6%

-11.0%

-32.0%

+32.0%

* Chart US$, in billions; Source: SEMI, March 2015

The SEMI World Fab Forecast and its related Fab Database reports track any equipment needed to ramp fabs, upgrade technology nodes, and expand or change wafer size, including new equipment, used equipment, or in-house equipment and spending on facilities for installation.

Fab spending, such as construction spending and equipment spending, are fractions of a company’s total capital expenditure (capex). Typically, if capex shows a trend to increase, fab spending will follow.  Capex for most of the large semiconductor companies is expected to increase by 8 percent in 2015, and grow another 3 percent in 2016. These increases are driven by new fab construction projects and also ramp of new technology nodes. Spending on construction projects, which typically represents new cleanroom projects, will experience a significant -32 percent decline in 2015, but is expected to rebound by 32 percent in 2016.

Comparing regions across the world, according to SEMI, the highest fab equipment spending in 2015 will occur in Taiwan, with US$ 11.9 billion, followed by Korea with US$ 9 billion.  The region with third largest spending, the Americas, is forecast to spend about US$ 7 billion.  Yet growth will decline in the Americas, by 12 percent in 2015, and decline by 12 percent in 2016 again.  Fourth in spending is China, with US$ 4.7 billion in 2015 and US$ 4.2 billion in 2016. In other regions, Japan’s spending will grow by about 6 percent in 2015, to US$ 4 billion; and 2 percent in 2016, to US$ 4.2 billion.  The Europe/Mideast region will see growth of about 20 percent (US$ 2.7 billion) in 2015 and over 30 percent (US$ 3.5 billion) in 2016. South East Asia is expected to grow by about 15 percent (US$ 1.3 billion) in 2015 and 70 percent (US$ 2.2 billion) in 2016.

2015 is expected to be the second consecutive year in equipment spending growth. SEMI’s positive outlook for the year is based on spending trends tracked as part of our fab investment research. The “bottom’s up” company-by-company and fab-by-fab approach points to strong investments by foundries and memory companies driving this year’s growth.

The SEMI World Fab Forecast Report lists over 40 facilities making DRAM products. Many facilities have major spending for equipment and construction planned for 2015.

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