Capex rebound expands billionaires' club

June 12, 2017 // By Peter Clarke
IC Insights has increased the number of companies it expects to spend over a billion dollars in capital expenditure in 2017 to 15.

The market researcher previously thought the number would be 11 (see 11 chip companies over $1bn in 2017 capex ranking ). It has added Nanya, Infineon, Sony and Renesas to the club. This expanded billion-dollar spending club is larger than it has been since 2007.

Moreover, IC Insights believes that a few Chinese companies are likely to break into the ranking over the next couple of years as they ramp up wafer fabs. The 15 companies listed, which include four pure-play foundries, are forecast to represent 83 percent of total worldwide semiconductor industry capital spending in 2017, the highest percentage over the time period shown.

Intel, Samsung, GlobalFoundries, and SK Hynix are the four leading spender with a forecast aggregate spend in 2017 of more than $40 billion.

With DRAM average selling prices (ASPs) surging since the third quarter of 2016, DRAM manufacturers are once again stepping up spending for this segment. The DRAM/SRAM segment is expected to increase its capex in 2017 by 31 percent over 2016.Capital spending for flash memory in 2016 ($14.6 billion) was significantly higher than spending allocated for DRAM ($8.5 billion). A big jump in NAND flash capital spending in 2017 is expected to come from Samsung as it ramps its 3D NAND production in its wafer fab in Pyeongtaek, South Korea.

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