Market News

SACRAMENTO, CA -- The state of California sent a stern message to semiconductor chip manufacturers yesterday by enacting mandatory rules controlling greenhouse gases.

The new rules would cover a reported 85 plants and require most chip makers to cut releases of sulfur hexafluoride and other fluorinated gases by more than half over the next three years. The plants are those identified as having released at least trace amounts of the gases.

While 85 companies in all are said to be affected, 57 need only comply with the reporting requirements because they amounts they release are so low. The rest -- 28 in all -- account for a reported 94% of fluorinated gas emissions. A reported 12 already comply, however, and the rest need to spend an estimated $37 million in total to bring their plants into compliance.


SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Altium Ltd. reported first-half sales increased 18% from last year to $27.2 million. Revenue grew 14% to $26.7 million, compared to $23.4 million last year.
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WILSONVILLE, OR – Mentor Graphics Corp. reported fiscal fourth-quarter revenue dropped nearly 15% to $242.6 million, compared to $284.8 million year-over-year. System and software revenues saw a decline of $157.57 million, down from $201.14 million. Service and support revenue rose to $85.07 million, compared to $83.68 million last year.
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SMYRNA, GA – More than 2,000 PCB designers, fabricators and assemblers registered for Virtual PCB (www.virtual-pcb.com), the industry's only virtual trade show and conference, which took place this week.
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CLEVELAND – OM Group Inc. reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $32.72 million, compared to a $47.99 million net income in 2007.
 
Included in the 2008 period was a non-cash inventory charge of $26.9 million, a non-recurring income tax benefit of $21.5 million and a non-cash goodwill impairment charge of $8.8 million.
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TAIPEI, TAIWAN – The government’s stimulus efforts in rural China seem to be paying off, according to DigiTimes. PCB and copper-clad laminate (CCL) producers are experiencing increased orders due to China’s market demand.
 
DigiTimes reports that Uniplus Electronics has received orders for March and April at both of its CCL plants in China. In addition, the company has hired 100 to 200 workers at its Taiwan facility.
 
Taiwan Union Technology’s current capacity has reached full utilization, and the company plans to open a second production line next month.
 
HannStar Board’s utilization rates have improved as well, climbing to more than 60%, compared to 40% to 50% in previous months. Plotech is expecting sales to climb 40% in February due to recovery in orders. Its workforce has increased by 10%, and the company is forecasting 15% to 20% growth for March, according to DigiTimes. 

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