Semitool suffered for at least two reasons in 2007. First, its customers decided to slow their pace of capital spending while they absorbed the capacity they had already installed. Second, its largest customer, Advanced Micro Devices
Given these vibes, it isn't too surprising that Semitool's revenue has fallen this year. Q4's tally was $47.2 million compared to $65 million a year ago (a 28% drop) -- not too uplifting. The yearly comparison is not quite as bad -- revenue fell by 11.5% to $215 million from $243 million last year.
Although a number of semiconductor manufacturers have announced lower capital spending plans for 2008, Semitool expects that business will pick up, partially due to an increasing presence in the memory markets. A glance at its largest customer list in the 2006 10-K reveals that flash memory manufacturers like Samsung and the Toshiba/SanDisk
And Semitool has made some inroads. Its products now occupy space in four memory fabs, and it is expecting further growth in the memory area with an increasing use of copper circuitry over the next couple of years.
It isn't easy for a small company to get its equipment on the must-have list in a large semiconductor fab, but I think Semitool has a decent chance of seeing a meaningful memory boost.
Fool contributor Dan Bloom has no financial interest in any company mentioned in this article. The Foolish disclosure policy didn't experience a slowdown in 2007, and things are looking bright in 2008 as well.