In TEL's results for the October to December 2010 quarter, net sales were down compared to the previous quarter but operating income was up; what is the outlook for the January to March quarter?
We are not revising our forecast of results for the entire fiscal year, and our calculations indicate a decrease in operating income for the January to March 2011 quarter at face value, but we will use the remaining time to achieve the best possible results.
The increase in factory utilization rates during the October to December quarter was indicated as one factor behind the improvement in the operating margin; what were the approximate plant utilization rates?
It is difficult to determine factory utilization rates accurately, but it is our understanding that they were about 90%.
What is the outlook for orders in the January-March period of 2011?
We estimate that orders for SPE will rise by approximately 5%, and orders for flat panel display/photovoltaic cell (FPD/PV) production equipment will rise by approximately 50% - an approximately 10% increase overall.
What is the outlook for capital investment for semiconductor production equipment in CY 2011?
Our leading customers have announced their capital investment plans for CY 2011, and many of the plans call for increased investment compared to the previous year. Based on information currently available, we anticipate that investment in wafer fab equipment in CY 2011 will increase by about 10% compared to the previous year. We do not feel that orders will slow in CY 2011.
What is the current status with regard to increasing your share of the market for etch systems and cleaning systems, an issue that TEL has focused on?
We have been laying the foundations to increase our market share for etch systems and cleaning systems since last year by introducing new products and have steadily been evaluated by customers. We will likely start to see results with etch systems this year, but a little more time will probably be necessary for cleaning systems.
What is the status of the measures concerning organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays?
TEL has adopted a dual approach to OLED manufacturing technology: joint development with Seiko Epson Corporation and independent development using our own technologies. We will accelerate these developments this year. We expect to achieve results from the joint development with Seiko Epson of film formation systems using an inkjet method next year or the year after the next at the earliest. We hope to commercialize evaporation systems using our own technologies somewhat sooner.
What is the outlook for new markets such as production equipment for TSV formation and thin-film photovoltaic cell production equipment?
We have been putting substantial effort into TSV since last year, and the preparations are steadily being developed in anticipation of full-scale market expansion. We hope to expand this segment into a business with a scale of tens of billions of yen in the future. Business for thin-film PV cells remains sluggish, but we believe that the market will grow over the medium to long term as a result of technological innovations. We are also developing our own technologies for photovoltaic cells other than thin-film cells, but we are not yet at a stage where we can make a public announcement.