Foundries see rebound in second quarter

After three quarters of contraction, the pure-play foundry semiconductor manufacturing industry will enjoy robust growth in the second quarter, according to analysts.

According to iSuppli, global revenue for pure-play foundries is set to rise to $3.6bn in the second quarter, up 59.3 per cent from $2.2bn in the first. The increase follows a 1.8 per cent sequential decrease in the third quarter of 2008, a 32.3 per cent decline in the fourth quarter of 2008 and a 38.2 per cent plunge in the first quarter of 2009.

IC Insights concluded that the market hit bottom in the first quarter and that major foundries would outpace integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) in terms of growth in the second quarter. The firm reckons the top 25 would see an increase in sales of 8 per cent compared with the first quarter. But the top five foundries on their own would see an increase of more than 80 per cent in sales.

“The foundry market in the second quarter is benefiting from both a major reduction in semiconductor inventories throughout the electronics supply chain  and innovative new designs requiring innovative technology,” said Len Jelinek, director and principal analyst for semiconductor manufacturing at iSuppli.

“However, while this growth will come as a relief to the foundries, it will not result in 2009 being a growth year for the foundry industry. Sustainable semiconductor growth will come only when the global economy recovers and consumers return to more normal patterns of purchases.”

Taking all of 2009 into account, iSuppli reckons the pure-play foundry market will underperform the overall semiconductor industry, with foundries suffering an overall revenue decline of 26.5 per cent. Global pure-play foundry revenue in the first quarter of 2009 fell by 57.7 per cent from $5.3bn in the first quarter of 2008.

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