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Optoelectronics/Displays  

Japan's DNP, Toppan compete in flat photomask market

Posted: 19 Sep 2006     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Dai Nippon Printing  DNP  Toppan Photomasks  flat photomask  The Information Network 

Japan's Dai Nippon Printing Co. Ltd. (DNP) seeks to regain the lead over Toppan Photomasks Inc. in what is seen as a flat photomask market, according to The Information Network report.

DNP was the market share leader in the photomask market until Japan's Toppan Printing Co. completed the roughly $650 million acquisition of U.S.-based DuPont Photomasks Inc. in 2005. The combined company, Toppan Photomasks, suddenly jumped ahead of DNP in market share.

The deal left the United States with only one merchant mask maker, Photronics Inc., which is in third place in terms of market share, observers said.

"In 2005, Toppan led the worldwide merchant market with a 40.1 per cent share after its acquisition of DuPont Photomasks. DNP followed with a 31.8 per cent share," said Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network, in a statement. "For 2006 we see DNP gaining sufficient market share to possibly overtake Toppan."

After recording strong gains of 18.7 per cent in 2004 and 9.7 per cent in 2005, the photomask market is expected to grow only 4.3 per cent in 2006, reaching sales of Rs.14,905.60 crore ($3.2 billion), he said.

For 2006, more than 50 per cent of the largest capital spenders in semiconductors are directed at memory production expansions. "These changes in the mix of semiconductors towards memory will affect the type and quantity of photomasks utilised," according to the report. "Since DRAM masks are used for a relatively large number of wafers, we project a reduction in the amount of photomasks manufactured in 2006."

Meanwhile, an oversupply of flat-panel displays will slow TFT-LCD photomask sales to 13 per cent growth in 2006, according to the analyst.

"Driving the photomask market are a generation-shift to bigger glass plates and a design-rule cycle of panel technology that changes every 12 months," Castellano said in separate report. "Right now there seems to be a surplus of panels and excess production capacity for photomasks relative to demand. The downward pressure on prices should continue through this year."

Japan's Hoya Corp. led the worldwide TFT-LCD photomask market with a share of 40 per cent. The firm expects Hoya will continue to be a price-setter for rapidly growing LCD photomasks for large-sized panels. But Hoya has been hit by falling prices of photomasks, reflecting weaker-than-expected demand for LCD panels and tough competition with rivals including photomask maker SK-Electronics Co., according to the report.

The TFT-LCD photomask market is pegged to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 25 per cent between 2003 and 2010 in terms of area of photomasks. Unit shipments will exhibit a CAGR of only 15 per cent in this time frame because of the meteoric rise in 8th Generation photomask production of 115 per cent between 2007 and 2010.

"We project that the oversupply situation in LCD panels, which averaged six per cent in 2005, to double to more than 13 per cent in 2006," added Castellano.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times




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