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Semiconductor spending up

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Worldwide capital equipment spending totalled $44,5-billion in 2007, a 5,9% increase from 2006 revenue of $42,1-billion. 

Gartner analysts say capital equipment sales were predominantly driven by irrationally exuberant memory investments, while logic and foundry investments declined once again.
“Uneven investment behaviour, with weakness in logic/foundry and strength in memory-related capacity spending, once again impacted relative equipment market share positions, as well as the regional sales picture in 2007,” says Klaus Rinnen, managing vice-president for Gartner's semiconductor manufacturing research group.
“45nm investments ramped more meaningful in 2007 but still accounted for less than 10% of total investment for the year. Regionally, investments in North America, Japan and Europe were below market, while Asia/Pacific again led the charge with 14,9% growth.”
Among the top five, no change was recorded in their relative positions, and four of the top five vendors outperformed the rest of the industry in growth.
The wafer fab equipment (WFE) segment grew 10%, while back-end equipment (BEE) showed an 8,1% decrease. The packaging and assembly equipment (PAE) segment shrunk 3,7%, and the automated test equipment (ATE) segment dropped 13,7%.
“As component unit demand growth slowed over 2006, back-end fab utilisation rates declined and the need for new manufacturing capacity decreased,” Rinnen says. “Memory-capacity-related equipment sales continued to dominate the mix.”