|Not So Fab? |
Experts aren't too excited about the data
|Book -to- Bill|
|November 2001 (final)||817.2||588.9||0.72|
|December 2001 (revised)||819.3||628.5||0.77|
|January 2002 (prelim.)||784.0||636.9||0.81|
|Source: Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International|
Some analysts minimized the importance of the book-to-bill data, pointing out that the numbers are based on past data and subject to revision. Also, as a result of a new Securities and Exchange Commission accounting rule dealing with revenue, the latest number was computed differently, making it tougher to draw comparisons between the January and December data. In the 1990s, the chip-equipment industry expanded dramatically, as semiconductor makers purchased gear to help them meet the increasing demands of the tech boom. But as the economy moved toward and entered a recession, chipmakers cut back on the amount of capital equipment they were buying and started making do with what they already had. Capacity utilization remains low at many foundries, with existing equipment idled to save money while demand remains tame.