FY2012 Financial Estimates Anouncement Meeting Q&A
We project that orders for semiconductor production equipment (SPE) during the April to June quarter are expected to fall 20% compared to the January to March quarter and increase by 10% to 15% during each of the July to September and October to December quarters. One positive note is that we have expectations for customers who are considering making additional investments in the July to September quarter and thereafter. Orders for flat panel display production equipment and photovoltaic cell production equipment (FPD/PVE) are expected to be in the 10 billion to 20 billion yen range for each quarter.
We are confident that SPE is a growth market. It was said several years ago that miniaturization would eventually come to a halt, but it is continuing even now. In parallel with miniaturization, 3D integration technologies and other technologies are also appearing. It is believed that customers will be more oligopolistic, but we are making adequate investment to survive and be successful.
The reason is the difference in sales of SPE, which have high profit margins. The low SPE sales in the first half is attributable to the inclusion of approximately 30 billion yen in effects from the earthquake disaster.
It is our understanding that this is the amount necessary to achieve the targets that we have established in each area. If additional expenditures are necessary, we will increase expenditure at that time.
Products including quartz, filters, stepping motors, and silicon components have been affected. We have responded by modifying our processes and purchasing alternatives, and if necessary we will implement measures such as design modification.
Our areas of strength concerning etch systems are DRAM high aspect ratio contact (HARC) in oxide film etching and logic device BEOL interconnect processes. We will work to further strengthen silicon etch systems. With respect to cleaning systems, we will increase our single-wafer cleaning market share.
We will shift away from the hardware business and work to create technologies that can reduce costs. We plan to recruit the engineers necessary to carry this out.
They will account for approximately 50% of FPD production equipment sales.
The current evaporation technology is expensive and results in a lot of wasted material. Our production equipment seeks to increase the efficiency of material use and lower panel manufacturing costs. Two major South Korean FPD panel manufacturers are leading the field, but we have set the timing of our entry to coincide with the beginning of investment in eighth-generation mass production.
We will respect that trend. At the same time, however, we plan to prove the technological superiority of our products in cutting-edge and high-value-added fields. We will meet customer needs by conducting development from the upstream processes with customers in nearby locations.
As we have indicated in the past, we will positively consider mergers when synergy effects can be expected. At this time, we anticipate further growth of our existing business share in areas such as etch systems and cleaning systems, so our focus is on these areas, however we will also consider M&A.
Our stance remains unchanged. We are making the necessary preparation.
We believe that there are commercial opportunities in the refurbishing business to extend equipment lives.