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August 19, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

Figures out this week revealed that the North American semiconductor equipment industry collectively received only $69 worth of new orders for every $100 worth of equipment sold during the month of July. The news shows that the majority of the world’s chip fabrication equipment vendors are still in deep trouble. This ‘book-to-bill’ ratio of 0.69 was down a total of 10% from the preceding figure for June and down a total of 23% in the last six months, according to figures from the trade group SEMI (Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International). Companies that supply fabrication and testing equipment to the semiconductor industry, such as the giant Applied Material Inc, have been reporting steeply declining revenues and disappearing profits for the last two quarters and they are likely to be the last to see increased orders from any upswing in chip demand. The July data confirms a continuation of the softening of equipment orders…surplus semiconductor production capacity and the Asian economic situation continue to dampen both the chip and the equipment industries, said SEMI analyst Dick Green. A three month moving average calculated for July showed total monthly bookings (as recorded by SEMI) of $757m, down from $933m in June. Actual products shipped in July totaled $1.1bn, down from $1.23bn in June.

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