Key Supplier of Wafers for Chips Has Sold Out Through 2026

Key Supplier of Wafers for Chips Says It’s Sold Out Through 2026

Sumco Corp., a key supplier of silicon wafers for the semiconductor industry, said it has already sold out its production capacity through 2026, a sign shortages in the industry may not abate for years.

The Japanese company, one of a handful to provide the specialized silicon slabs that chipmakers use to create their designs, has orders to cover all output of its 300mm wafers for the next five years, it said after reporting earnings on Wednesday. It is not taking such long-term orders for 150mm and 200mm wafers, but demand is likely to keep surpassing supply for years to come, the company said. The price of wafers rose by 10% in 2021 over the previous year and Sumco expects to see increases continue until at least 2024. 

Sumco shares surged as much as 11% in Tokyo on Thursday, their biggest intraday jump since March 2020, in the wake of the comments.

The company said it won’t be able to expand its production this year at all, despite strong demand from customers desperate for long-term supplies. It has already done what it can in terms of optimizing existing production lines, and its supply-demand imbalance is consistent across its full range of products.

Taiwan’s GlobalWafers Co. recently failed in its bid for regulatory approval of a $5 billion takeover of Germany’s Siltronic AG, a move that would have brought consolidation to this sector of the chip supply chain. 

Sumco made the comments Wednesday after reporting revenue and profit that beat analyst estimates. The company also forecast sales and operating income for the first quarter ahead of projections.

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.