Like the US Cavalry the fourth quarter came to the rescue and lifted the semiconductor distribution industry in Europe in 2013 across the base line and provided an annual growth of 2.6%. And the positive message was reinforced by Georg Steinberger chairman of DMASS who commented, On the positive side, very strong order books suggest that 2014 will be a healthy year (provided no major disasters occur).”
According to DMASS (Distributors’ and Manufacturers’ Association of Semiconductor Specialists) sales in Q4/CY13 ended with an increase of 11.1% at 1.41bn Euro. The full calendar year 2013 ended at 5.87bn Euro total distribution sales.
Georg Steinberger, chairman of DMASS, reviewed the results: “2013 turned out as predicted. After a disappointing and sluggish 2012, the return to normal growth came as a relief to the whole industry. Unfortunately, we experienced a further decline of average selling prices, as the over-proportional growth in volume confirms.”
Regionally there were no real surprises during Q4/2013. Germany grew by 11.5% to 433m Euro, which amounts to nearly 31% of DMASS Total. Italy was the surprise package with sales up by a surprising 14.1% to 130m Euro; France set an even faster pace with 17.9% growth to 109m Euro; the UK was the laggard trailing the major regions of Europe with an increase of 8% to 121m Euro. Eastern Europe grew by 13%, the Nordic countries by 11.6% and Israel by 21%. The only countries/regions with a negative trend were the Baltic States, Russia and Hungary. On an annual basis, the main culprits for the slow overall growth were the UK, Germany and Russia, who all ended negatively.
Georg Steinberger: “Looking at the full year, a strong South and a weak Centre would have been the last thing you expected, considering all the macro-economic news influencing the electronics market and subsequently the semiconductor industry. It is not quite clear what was driving the German weakness, but apparently it is behind us.”
At the product detail level, Programmable Logic remained the weakest spot with 4.1% growth to 117 Million Euro, followed by Discretes mainly RF with 6.9% to 72m Euro and Analogue grew 9.8% to 396m Euro. The only major product segment to suffer a slight decline was sensors down 2.2%. The highest growth rates in Q4 occurred at DRAMs (40.4%) 32-Bit-MCUs (35.7%) and NAND-Flash (33.9%), the lowest at EPROMs (-34.7%) and RF Discretes (-8.1%).
Steinberger added: “Sequential quarterly developments show a very disparate and rarely consistent pattern, so let’s focus on the annual picture. All areas recovered nicely, except two major ones: Programmable Logic and MOS Micro, the latter one having only remained positive due to high-end MCUs. So what is wrong here? The conclusion we came to is the increased price pressure. We hope this pattern is going to change during 2014.”


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