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Cymer doubled extreme UV resources in 2010

09 Feb 2011

San Diego company indicates robust semiconductor market, with chip makers said to be increasing capital expenditure plans for 2011.

Excimer laser specialist Cymer has rounded off fiscal 2010 by posting its seventh consecutive quarter of increasing revenue.

In what CEO Bob Akins described as a quarter of “solid growth and profitability”, revenues for the final quarter of the year came in at $146.9 million, compared with $141.7 million in the previous quarter and $96.4 million in Q4 2009. Net income for Q4 2010 totalled $32.9 million, up on both the $20.9 million declared in Q3 and the $12.2 million reported one year ago.

A look at the results for the full fiscal year further highlights the growth. For the year ended December 31, 2010, Cymer generated a net income of $91 million, compared with a net income of $12 million for 2009. Annual revenues of $534.2 million showed a 74% increase from the $307.7 million reported in the prior year.

Commenting on the year, Akins said: "2010 was a year of significant accomplishment and growth for Cymer. The demonstrated performance and reliability of our deep ultraviolet (DUV) light sources were instrumental in winning chipmaker selections and strengthened our competitive position. We believe we have never been better placed for continued growth.”

In the fourth quarter of 2010, the company shipped 35 light sources, of which 26 were ArF immersion, eight were KrF, and one was ArF dry. Cymer installed 47 light sources at chipmaker locations. For the full year 2010, that brought the number of shipped light sources to 124, of which 87 were ArF immersion, 35 were KrF, and two were ArF dry.

Capex increases
Looking forward to Q1 2011, Akins was optimistic that the company would ship a greater number of light sources compared with Q4 of 2010. “Our attention to light source reliability, customer productivity, and cost of operations has resulted in several recent key light source selections from chip makers, some of whom have recently announced significant increases to their 2011 capex plans,” he said.

“We believe this increase in capex investment will translate into continued growth as the year proceeds. We are predicting revenues of approximately $150 million for the first quarter of 2011.”

While DUV light sources very much represent Cymer’s core business, a growing part of its operation is the development of extreme ultraviolet (EUV) technology. During 2010, Cymer shipped four of its 3100 EUV sources and is now preparing to ship the fifth source of this type. Akins openly admits that much work remains to be done to extend and sustain the performance of Cymer’s EUV sources, but reassured investors that the company remains committed to the long-term success of the technology.

“We continue to work closely with ASML on development and commercialisation of our 3100 and next generation 3300 sources,” commented Akins. “We are focusing on improved source power, performance and reliability. In 2010, we doubled our EUV resources and manufacturing capacity and added trained field service engineers to support source operations at chip makers and ASML. In 2011, we will continue to add technical and operational capability to support our 3100 installed base and 3300 source development.”

About the Author

Jacqueline Hewett is a freelance science and technology journalist based in Bristol, UK.

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