The Week In Review: Manufacturing

Oil prices; CapEx forecasts for Intel and TSMC; ISS forecasts; SEMI awards.

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Historically, there has been a good correlation between oil prices and worldwide GDP growth, with lower prices correlating to stronger future growth. Given the current forecast for the price of oil in 2015, IC Insights expects oil prices to once again be a “tailwind” for worldwide GDP growth.

Intel posted its sales and earnings for the fourth quarter. In 2015, Intel projects that its capital spending will reach $10.0 billion, plus or minus $500 million. This is lower than expected. RBC Capital Markets expected Intel’s CapEx to hit $10.5 billion. The consensus on the Street was $10.6 billion.

TSMC estimated that its capital expenditures will be between $11.5 billion to $12 billion in 2015, which is about a 20% to 25% year-over-year increase.

The IC industry is expected to grow 5% in 2015, according to TSMC. The foundry revenue growth is 12%. But the foundry giant also expects weaker demand in the first quarter. In addition, TSMC is exiting the LED business and is selling the LED unit to Epistar.

The SEMI Industry Strategy Symposium (ISS) this week opened with the theme “Riding the Wave of Silicon Magic.” The conference highlighted favorable forecasts in the year’s first strategic outlook for the global microelectronics manufacturing industry.

SEMI forecasts a favorable outlook for DRAM, as bit demand is expected to rise for the year.

SEMI announced that two companies, Brewer Science and Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), are recipients of the 2014 SEMI Award for North America. The awards honor Terry Brewer of Brewer Science for revolutionizing optical lithography with anti-reflective coatings; and Jason Chang and Tien Wu of ASE for pursuing the commercialization of copper wire bonds when gold was the industry standard.

ASE passed resolutions to spin-off of its subsidiary, Universal Scientific Industrial (USI), as part of an effort to enhance operational flexibility via structural adjustments.

GlobalFoundries and Linear Dimensions are working together to manufacture a 14-channel programmable reference for multiple markets, including IoT sensor and wearable device applications.

Semtech, a supplier of analog and mixed-signal semiconductors, has completed the acquisition of assets of EnVerv, a privately-held supplier of power line communications and smart grid solutions.