Sales of Monocrystalline Silicon to Become Record High for 3 Consecutive Years

Sales of monocrystalline silicon is likely to become record highs for 3 consecutive years. According to the silicon session of Japan Society of Newer Metals whose members are 8 silicon wafer companies including SUMCO and Shinetsu Semiconductor, the sales in 2005 was 7,155 tonnes, up 6% from the previous year, which had been record for 2 consecutive years. That in 2006 is likely to increase 9% to 7,800 tonnes; the export and domestic demand is likely to increase 13% and 5% respectively according to the session. That in the year would be 50% higher than that in 2000 when the economy shored up by information technology reached its peak. The demand for digital home appliances like flat-screen television, and end products such as personal computer and cellular phone, etc. is good. In addition, that for semiconductor-related products such as bonding wire and sputtering target continues to be brisk. Currently, each silicon wafer company’s plant operating rate is in its high level. In particular, the order entries of the 300-millimeter wafer can’t be entirely accepted even in the current full operation according to Mr. Kenjiro Shigematsu, President of SUMCO. Monocrystalline silicon production in 2006 is likely to increase 7% to 6,700 tonnes. On the other hand, multicrystalline silicon production for semiconductor is likely to be just 6,800 tonnes in 2006 because it is impossible to increase the production equipment dramatically though the demand is likely to increase from 2005. As for the other production of semiconductor-related products, their production is firm. For example, there is full operation of bonding wire production line of Ohkuchi Electronics, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Sumitomo Metal Mining, which is located in Kagoshima Prefecture, Western Japan. Mikio Hukasawa, General Manager of Bonding Wire Dept, said that the production situation continued to be very busy though that had declined for the past years. Furthermore, there is production of target materials for semiconductors at Nikko Materials’ Isohara Plant in Ibaraki Prefecture, Eastern Japan. The firm is planning to increase little by little following the current strong demand and expectation of growth of the product business in the future.