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Rising chip fab kit sales signal recovery

Book-to-bill ratio continues to rise

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Chip manufacturing equipment trade organisation Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) today said orders for fabrication kit from US suppliers were generating increased revenues, putting the business on a clear road to recovery. SEMI bases its claim on the book-to-bill ratio -- the difference between the value of companies' orders and the value of product shipped. According to SEMI, the book-to-bill ration was 1.07 in September (the industry took $107 in orders for every $100 in product it shipped). In October, it had risen to 1.09. "The October numbers show that equipment orders are back on track for full recovery," said SEMI president Stanley Myers in a statement. "The resurgence of the global semiconductor industry, coupled with positive economic and industry forecasts for 2000, appear to be finally spurring growth in capital spending." October's three-month average for worldwide shipments of fabrication equipment hit $1.47 billion, up 72 per cent on the same period last year and four per cent up on September's figure. The three-month average for orders reached $1.59 billion, up 150 per cent on October 1998's figure of $638 million. ®

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