What is the outlook for orders in the April-June and July-September periods of 2010?
For the April-June period, total orders are expected to reach around 150 billion yen, with 130 billion yen for SPE and 20 billion yen for FPD/PV production equipment.
Orders for the July-September period will likely reach the same level.
The level of capital investment is high in DRAM and NAND flash memory and will also remain high in foundries and MPU.
In the SPE revenue for the fiscal year ended March 2010, etch systems accounted for a higher percentage than coaters/developers. Won't the profitability of the overall SPE business suffer if you see the same status in this FY2011?
It is true that coaters/developers are more profitable than etch systems, but the profitability of etch systems is significant nonetheless. We are aiming to make further improvements in profitability through operations at our new Miyagi plant, as well as market share increases, etc.
How are you planning to improve the profitability of etch systems at the new Miyagi plant?
Currently, we conduct development work in Yamanashi and production in Matsushima, but the new Miyagi plant will integrate the entire process from development to mass production. We will improve profitability by maximizing production efficiency and shortening the delivery time through strengthening our supply chain.
What kind of competition do you face in the etch system market?
Our company's share of the dry etch system market has not changed over the past year. We have been engaged in customer evaluation work targeted our major customers, but it takes time for such efforts to lead to actual sales within this industry. It could take at least another year before we see the results. Although competition for market share is intense, we must increase our market share.
How are you planning to increase your share of the cleaning system market?
We hope to launch systems with significantly improved productivity. We aim to increase our market share for the medium term by offering high-performance single-wafer cleaning systems that meet the increasing need for miniaturization.
Your forecast for the current fiscal year shows a 91% increase for SPE. What are the breakdowns by product?
The respective shares of cleaning systems and thermal processing systems are expected to increase. In terms of investment for miniaturization, demand for RLSA etch systems and ALD systems that cause less damage during processing will increase. In terms of investment to increase capacity, demand for thermal processing systems will increase.
In the current fiscal year, both R&D expenses and expenses for handling a high level of orders are expected to increase. How much will the total fixed costs increase compared to the previous period?
The total fixed costs will increase by about 30 billion yen compared to the previous fiscal year. Some of this increase will be due to an increase in production, and 13 billion yen will be attributable to R&D expenses. We plan to carry out all necessary R&D activities.
You are optimistically projecting that the market of wafer processing equipment will grow by at least 90% in 2010 and by around 30% in 2011. What is the current status of customer investment in wafer processing equipment?
At the most recent meeting to announce financial results in February, we said that the investment situation would come into view by around March, and indeed new Fab plans among major memory customers are becoming more concrete. For the 2010 calendar year, we have examined and added up specific customer plans; and we calculated and projected the growth rate for that year based on new Fab construction plans.
What is your forecast for the bit growth rate?
We project DRAM and NAND flash memory to grow by 50% and 90% in 2010, respectively.
What is your long-term management goal?
Although it will depend on the market environment, we hope to surpass the previous peak sales level within two to three years. For the medium- to long-term, we hope to expand our business volume in fields where we already have a presence, develop new business ventures, and establish additional core business areas besides existing fields such as SPE.