Regional variations in Europe's fortunes

01 July 2007

DMASS (Distributors’ and Manufacturers’ Association of Semiconductor Specialists) reports distinct regional variation of its members’ fortunes, with Eastern Europe, Benelux and Nordic countries, Switzerland and Germany experiencing above-average increases in sales in Q1.

Last year is viewed as a record year for European semiconductor sales, with double-digit growth rates. 2007 begins with a quarterly growth of 4.8 per cent. However, parts of Europe and industry sectors grew at different rates. Germany grew by 9.8 per cent, while Italy remained flat and France and the UK shrank by 3.6 and 6.6 per cent respectively. It was the regions of ‘new’ Europe that surged ahead, with Poland increasing by 41 per cent, Russia by 30 per cent, followed by Benelux at 24.4 per cent, Switzerland (15.3 per cent) and Norway (14.7 per cent).

Anne Vernay, chairwoman, DMASS, attributes the success of eastern European companies to the increasing domestic markets and the fact that countries are becoming ‘more than just a prolonged workbench for western Europe’. Different products experienced rises and falls in the first Q of 2007. SRAMs experienced the highest growth rate, an impressive 33 per cent. DMASS reports discrete and analogue products rose by nine and seven per cent respectively, with opto products also showing a healthy growth of five per cent. The big losers were LEDs and EEPROMS, both down by 11 per cent.

The growth in standard analogue, over 10 per cent and microcontrollers, eight per cent as well as programmable logic is attributed to the fact that these design intensive technologies are ‘ubiquitous’ across a range of electronic designs. According to the report, they account for nearly half of the DMASS sales. Vernay believes ‘This is also a good sign that distribution drives more than just commodities.’

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