News Article

Fab Construction Metrics Dip

2009 spending on Fab construction products expected to reach lowest level since 1999
According to the World Fab Forecast report recently released by SEMI, 2009 spending on worldwide fabs equipping front-end facilities is expected to hit the lowest levels since 1994.

All regions are showing double-digit declines in construction spending in 2009, with the possible exception of the Americas. The Americas have experienced some of the lowest spending levels in the past few years, but are expected to see growth driven by Intel and AMD. Worldwide, eight facilities are expected to commence operations in 2009, and in 2010, a total of about 18 additional facilities may begin operations.

Since the global economic downturn, the hardest hit area in semiconductor manufacturing has been the memory industry, which has experienced bankruptcies and consolidations. A prime example of this is Qimonda, which filed for insolvency in January 2009, and subsequently closed down its manufacturing in the US, and dramatically cut capacity by 75 percent in its Front End fab in Dresden for the first quarter of 2009.

New growth will take time in the memory segment, which has dominated spending levels and capacity growth in the industry since 2001; however, plans by Intel and AMD are continuing investments in advanced technology.

Recently, both companies have announced multi-billion dollar plans for upgrades and capacity expansion both in the US and internationally. These investments also represent the largest investment in the US since 2007, when Intel launched Fab 32 and IM Flash established the Lehi and Manassas fabs.

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