27.02.2019 kl 11:39 3452

Tokyo Electron Sees Potential Mid-Year Chip Rebound

By Pavel Alpeyev and Yuki Furukawa

27. februar 2019, 03:49 CET Corrected 27. februar 2019, 07:59 CET

Tokyo Electron Ltd., one of the world’s biggest makers of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, says it will take as long as another three months until it’s clear whether there will be a rebound in demand damped by U.S.-China trade tensions.

The pace of slowing demand from customers, which include all of the world’s major chipmakers, is moderating as they work through inventories, a process that could continue through the second half of 2019 and into the start of next year, Chief Executive Officer Toshiki Kawai said in an interview. The market for wafer processing equipment may shrink by about 15 to 20 percent this year, in part due to the trade war between the world’s two largest economies, Kawai said.

In October, Tokyo Electron slashed its full-year operating income target by 16 percent and cut revenue outlook 8.6 percent. The company last month forecast that capital investment for memory chips will slump about 30 percent this year, and for flash memory be half of what it was in 2018. Still, the Tokyo-based manufacturer has stuck to its forecast for profit and revenue growth over the next three years, citing a boost in chip demand from high-speed servers, the global roll out of 5G wireless technology and increasing use of smart devices for data collection.

“There is no way to avoid a short-term slide in plans due to the trade spat. China is the biggest consumer of semiconductors,” Kawai said. “But that doesn’t change our longer-term view. There will be growth in applications that call for chips offering speed, reliability, higher-capacity and lower power consumption.”

Tokyo Electron is forecasting sales will range from 1.5 trillion yen ($14 billion) to 1.7 trillion yen in the year ending March 2021, as much as a 50 percent gain from fiscal 2018. Profit might climb as much as 69 percent to 476 billion yen, it predicts. Revenue from flat-panel manufacturing equipment will probably decline after this year because of a smartphone industry slowdown.

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