Electronics Production | February 10, 2009

European Semiconductor Distribution shrinks in 2008

The global economic crisis is hitting the electronics components distribution market with full force. The downturn trend from the previous quarters continued and accelerated in the 4Q/2008 for which DMASS (Distributors’ and Manufacturers’ Association of Semiconductor Specialists), reported a decline of distribution revenues of 11.4% versus Q4 last year.
The combined membership achieved quarterly distribution revenues of 1.09 Billion Euro. For the full year, DMASS reported revenues of 5.02 Billion Euro, a decline of 7.9% versus 2007. Georg Steinberger, new Chairman of DMASS, commented: “Components distribution couldn’t escape the general downturn. With the economic crisis expanding far beyond the bank sector into the production industry, customers throughout all industry segments were affected. There is a lack of confidence in a fast recovery, therefore orders are postponed and bookings held back. Inventory levels at customers are extremely low. At the same time, suppliers are reducing capacity and spending for new fabs, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see availability trouble as soon as the market comes back.“

All regions were affected, even Eastern Europe declined for the first time in years in Q4 compared to Q4 last year (-1.4%). The only countries with Q408 over Q407 growth were Austria, Poland, Hungary and the emerging countries in Eastern Europe. Russia, star of the first half of 2008, had a double digit decline and came out only slightly positive for the full year. Of the bigger regions, Germany declined least in Q4 (-7.8% to 352 Million Euro), followed by France (-9% to 93 Million Euro) and the UK (-13.4% to 100 Million Euro). The UK suffers a severe currency effect that diminishes the local market value quite significantly. Italy, second biggest major region in Europe, took a dive of 20.8% in Q4 to 119 Million Euro. All other regions or countries except Israel (-1.9%) and Sweden (-8.1%) declined in double digits. For the full year, Eastern Europe remained positive (5.8%), while Germany only declined by 5%.

Georg Steinberger: “This time, there was almost nothing to gain for any region. The food chain of electronics production is so tightly coupled that even the production regions this time suffered almost in the same way as the rest of Europe. But these numbers are the past. Our concerns should be with future developments, and so far, from a booking perspective, 2009 hasn’t started positively. As the end demand normally cannot disappear overnight, our hopes remain strong that the decline in the market is to a large extent panic rather than real.”

Product-wise, all major product groups went down in Q4 compared to Q4 last year – between 3.1% (Memories) and 17.4% (Standard Logic). Only slightly affected was Programmable Logic with -4.2% (102 Million Euro), while the biggest sectors reacted differently. Analog components only declined by 9.3% (to 304 Million Euro), MOS Micros went down by 14.9% to 254 Million Euro. Only three products grew at all in Q4 compared to Q4 last year: DRAMs, SRAMs and DSPs. Annualised, all the major product groups were negative, between 5.6% (Discretes) and 14.8% (Standard Logic).

Georg Steinberger: “The fact that over the year, the downturn spread evenly across all products and technologies shows that this is a problem for all industries and applications. I continue to believe, however, that fundamentals of the European electronics industry, which is highly specialised and export-oriented, are still right and that Europe will be back on track soon.”

Note: DMASS only reports industrial semiconductor sales, defined as all semiconductors, excluding the PC channel.

Image source: NXP


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