3Q FY2017 Earnings Release Conference Q&A
We received orders from Korean customers in all of our product categories. For DRAM, share improvements in patterning through technologies combining multiple etching steps contributed. We also received many NAND-related orders thanks to penetration for new processes in 3D NAND.
Taiwan is one of the largest markets, and we expect the high level of incoming orders to continue, with memory and foundry-related orders staying balanced.
There is not a great deal of difference. We foresee growth of 10% or more in the WFE* market during CY2017, with a continued high level of incoming orders.
We do not envisage that the level of orders in the October-December period will continue, but we believe that relatively strong demand will be maintained given year-on-year growth of more than 10% in the WFE market for CY2017.
We expect last year's relatively high levels to continue.
Although our customers' investment plans for October-December period of 2017 are not yet finalized, there is likely to be an upward trend in all applications. We can expect our customers to invest steadily in 3D NAND in the medium-to-long term.
The figures were calculated based on our estimates by using customers' investment plans for reference.
Both DRAM and NAND investment will probably ramp up in 2018.
That is something that we are not anticipating.
For the sake of future growth, we are using R&D expenses for 3D NAND, etc., and adopting a two-pronged approach of curtailing increases in fixed costs while improving our marginal profit ratio. Given our fixed costs at the market's current size, we are moving ahead to build a production system that will enable us to handle a market size of $37 billion or more.
We are working to improve both gross margins and operating margins as indicated in the medium term business plan, and we plan to achieve our targets by the fiscal year ending in March 2020.
There are no plans to build new factories at the present time. We will continue to raise productivity and control fixed costs in order to achieve the targets in the medium term business plan.
Tokyo Electron enjoys an extremely high market share in coater/developers, and any increase in the number of shipments of EUV exposure equipment would also expand our business opportunities. The more sophisticated the level of technology demanded, the higher the added value of the equipment will become.
WFE (Wafer Fab Equipment): The semiconductor production process can be divided into two sequential sub-processes: front-end (wafer fabrication) and back-end (assembly and test) production. WFE is used in the front-end production process
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