'Billion-dollar capex club' smallest in a decade

TechOnline India - August 06, 2009

Just three chip companies are projected to spend $1 billion or more on semiconductor capital equipment in 2009, the lowest membership in the "billion-dollar capex club" in more than 10 years, according to market research firm IC Insights.

SAN FRANCISCO—Just three chip companies are projected to spend $1 billion or more on semiconductor capital equipment in 2009, making up the smallest "billion-dollar capex club" in more than 10 years, according to market research firm IC Insights Inc.

Only Intel Corp., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (TSMC) are projected to spend more than $1 billion on capital outlays this year, down from eight companies in 2008 and 16 in 2007, according to a mid-year update of IC Insights' McClean Report.

Intel, Samsung and TSMC have spent more than $1 billion on capital outlays in every year since 2000, according to the report.

Capital spending as a percent of semiconductor sales slipped to a record low of 16 percent in 2008 and is projected to further fall to 12 percent this year, according to the report.

Billion-dollar spenders are expected to account for 43 percent of worldwide semiconductor industry capital expenditures in 2009, down from 56 percent in 2008 and a record 74 percent in 2007, according to the report.

IC Insights had predicted in January that five companies would spend more than $1 billion in capex this year, including Toshiba and Hynix. Both companies have scaled back their plans considerably due to the recession and overcapacity.

Intel is projected to spend $4.7 billion on capital equipment this year, followed by Samsung at $4.5 billion and TSMC at $2.3 billion, according to IC Insights (Scottsdale, Ariz.). Intel and Samsung are projected to decrease capital spending by 10 percent and 33 percent, respectively, compared to 2008, while TSMC's planned capex is up 23 percent from its 2008 spending level, IC Insights said.

The mid-year update to the McClean report, released July 31, is available through the firm's website as part of a new half year subscription service priced at $1,890.


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