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Robert Castellano

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  • Buy Ultratech: Significant Upside As Foundry FinFET Delay Offers Compelling Entry Point [View article]
    This article is clearly a spin by you because of your long position on UTEK. The lithography space for FinFETS is made up nearly exclusively by ASML with some crumbs for Nikon. As you are aware and should be more honest in your articles because of your obsession with Intel, Intel invested billions of dollars in ASML because of its need for EUV and 450mm development for its devices, including FinFETS. So did Samsung and TSMC, the foundry you are speaking about. The last time UTEK had any revenues in leading edge IC manufacturing was back in 2003 when it sold $12 million in equipment, compared to $1.2 billion for both ASML and Nikon (Canon had $497 million in sales). Yes the UTEK tool is fine for back end, but sells for twice the price of a Suss tool. My data show Suss had a 56.1% share of the back-end packaging space, so please advise where you got the 80% share for UTEL you mention.
    Jul 23 11:15 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Worst To First? Micron's NAND Strategy Revisited [View article]
    "Mark Durcan and his CEO peers at the other NAND producers are cautioning that the 3D transition is not going to be a rapid event?"
    There are numerous examples of companies jumping the gun and losing market share and revenue. Back in themid-1908s, when I started The Information Network, there was a move by US DRAM manufacturers to stepper lithography systems while the Japanese DRAM manufacturers stayed with the trusted scanners. The result, yields on steppers dropped from 90% to 20% and every DRAM manufacturer, including Intel, went out of the DRAM business while the Japanese umped to 100% market share. In 3D, it is Applied Materials that is pushing for 3D as a way of making money. AMAT got burnt in the late 1990s when it pushed 300mm wafers before the rest of the industry, specifically ASML, was ready. They got burnt again on 450mm the past few years (search Seeking Alpha for a recent article of mine on this topic). MU does not have the deep pockets of Samsung. Let them get the bugs out and then MU can move in.
    Aug 29 12:56 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Solar Industry: U.S. Duties, WTO Ruling And The Obvious Winners [View article]
    The solar industry in the U.S. is replete with shortsightedness by both the U.S. government and manufacturers.

    The article discusses First Solar and SunPower. Yet both manufacture outside the U.S. - Malaysia and the Philippines. SunPower is 60% owned by the French company Total. So is it a U.S. company?
    The U.S.government made a huge mistake several years ago when it tried to expand the U.S. solar manufacturing base. The democratic-controlled House and Senate were more concerned with jobs, not manufacturing. So, foreign-owned companies came in and acquired the U.S. companies or established ones here because of government-backed incentives.
    Jul 19 11:07 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Repercussions of a Deteriorating Semiconductor Industry [View article]
    There are several analytics we use in determining the overall health of a sector. We look at the supply side, down to the chip level of production. We speak with these companies as well as use their disclosure statements on earnings calls. We look at overall capacity utilization in the semi fabs. We look at ancillary technologies, such as software. Finally we use secondary published sources of information. One story does not make a complete picture, but when we look at the overall facets of the components that make up an "electronic gadget or personal computer" and all stories from different sources on different supply-chain components follow the same trend, it tells us something. Of course we use our proprietary LI to correlate with the overall macroeconomic state of the world economy. Examples of stories in the past few days are:

    Microsoft on Thursday reported weaker-than-expected quarterly revenue and again declined to offer a forecast for the current quarter.
    With sales dropping during its second quarter Nvidia's decided to write off a whole bunch of old chip inventory and take a write down against a proposed settlement of a chip packaging lawsuit hanging over it since late 2008.
    An overnight report from a Taiwan-based newspaper said flat panel makers are cutting orders to LED makers. That echoes concerns last month from Piper Jaffray, which warned bookings in the LED and solar-cell areas may have peaked.
    Asustek expected to revise down motherboard shipment target for 2010

    Call me on my cell at 610-737-7596 if you wish to discuss further
    Aug 17 10:34 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • China’s Domestic Solar Market: Time to Wake Up [View article]
    I don't get it. You state "So what will it take to rev up the Chinese domestic solar market? Technology transfer from firms like ESolar and First Solar? Or will it come from another more organic direction?" That means that the Chinese modules are good enough to be shipped to the US and Germany, as you state, but not good enough for the Chinese Market?
    Jan 14 12:57 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Applied Materials' Spin Continues To Mislead Investors [View article]
    I own no stock and have no positions in any companies. Last time I did a trade was in 2008 and bought 100 shares of stock through a broker. I write these articles as a service to investors.
    Jun 10 03:25 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Do Oil Price Spikes Cause Recessions? [View article]
    Bravo sethmcs, but how does one go about initiating a program? Congress. Obama, WTO, UN? Who?

    Alternative energy is a hope. I wrote in a blog a year or so ago on Seeking Alpha "What's worse, importing oil from OPEC or solar from Europe and Asia"? This administration is not initiating the infrastructure. Obama stropped drilling in the eastern Gulf, but hasn't implemented an alternative.
    Dec 24 09:13 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Correction in the Offing for Semis? [View article]
    What amazes me is how Gartner gives forecasts in tenths of percent and then makes huge changes 19.9 to 27.1 in their next announcement. On the one hand the precision in the numbers suggests they know what they're talking about and on the other the huge swings suggests they don't. I see this in every announcement they make. Problem is, the trade magazines publish it as gospel, and Wall Street analysts use their numbers all the time. Sadly it's the investor who suffers by these inaccuracies. I am 100.000% (is that precise enough?) the next Gartner release will again be in tenths of percents and there will be big changes in the numbers.
    Jun 10 10:49 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • First Solar Sinks Upon Release of Annual Report [View article]
    Finally Wall Street is catching up with Main Street in the solar area. I've been negative on solar for more than a year and everyone out there is in denial. Read my articles on Seeking Alpha or my column on As First Solar rightly points out, much of the activity has been based on feed in tariffs. Countries are BROKE. PV companies are nearly all reporting red ink last quarter. Capacity utilization is below 50%. Also, First Solar points out its modules are 75 watts. This compares to polysilicon modules coming out of China at close to 300 watts. That means one needs to connect 4 of First Solar's panels to make up the wattage of 1 Chinese panel. First Solar has relied on low-cost production, but with the price of polysilicon so low and labor so cheap in China, it is going to be difficult for them, as well as other thin film PV manufacturers to compete.
    Feb 23 09:57 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • First Solar Guides In-Line and Disappoints Again [View article]
    Solar is another example of the disconnect between what is happening on Wall Street and what is happening on Main Street. Solar is primarily funded by governments whether its stimulus, tariff, etc. Governments are broke. And like any other commodity, low cost is the key and when the Chinese can put 600 people on a line and pay them10 cents an hour, other countries cannot compete. The U.S. solar stimulus is not working - we need solar jobs here. As I said before in an article in Seeking Alpha "What's worse buying oil from OPEC or solar from Euroasia"? Since the time I wrote that, I guess we can drop the Euro part.
    Feb 19 10:32 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Applied Materials: Displays, Solar Panels and Correcting Tom Friedman [View article]
    "Returning for a moment to Thomas Friedman's chagrin. Friedman took a similar tour of Applied last week and in an editorial in Tuesday's New York Times lamented the lack of a Sun Fab plant producing PV in the U.S. and the necessity of importing PV panels from China, equating that to importing Mideast oil. Which is a lazy parallel on his part".

    What do you mean a lazy parallel on his part? I used the expression in March in a Seeking Alpha article entitled "
    Which Is Worse: Buying Solar Panels from Eurasia or Oil from OPEC?" which Friedman lifted from me. Read it and understand the logic behind what I said and what he referred to.

    Why are you being judgmental? Remember, you're the ones that put your Seeking Alpha articles in the chip section when PVs are not chips, (read my comment about it in a recent article by greentechmedia in Seeking Alpha) so if you don't know the difference between a chip and a PV except that Si is the common denominator, clearly you are not in a position to judge the accuracy of intuitive comments.
    Sep 18 04:01 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • PHEVs and EVs: Plugging into a Lump of Coal [View article]
    I like the way you detail the info, but your arguments have been touched upon before. I the documentary "Who Killed the Electric Car" one expert notes that "all you're doing with an electric car is moving the smokestack".

    Also, in a SeekingAlpha article wrote on March 19 "Which Is Worse: Buying Solar Panels from Eurasia or Oil from OPEC?" I point out that we need to have and keep an infrastructure here in the US, otherwise all we are doing is importing a different form of energy from another country - solar in my argument, batteries in yours.
    Aug 30 10:17 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why Applied Materials' Appeal Goes Beyond Its Mega-Merge [View article]
    All you are doing is reiterating AMAT's. Show your own research to ascertain the facts. So what if it is going to be the largest semiconductor company. Each has been losing market share, particularly TEL. The 3D stuff is still in the pushout stage because of manufacturing delays. The delay in 450mm wafer production will seriously hurt both companies, both in the bottom line for 450mm equipment made but not sold and future revenue of 450mm equipment to its customers, particularly Intel, Samsung, and TSMC, the only companies with deep enough pockets to make a 450mm fab.
    So what's your point in writing this article?
    Sep 15 10:57 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Ultratech Sliding To The Right... Again [View article]
    Ashraf, its really interesting that every semiconductor equipment manufacturer has been impacted by pushouts in 3D except Applied Materials (NASDAQ:AMAT). Lam's stock was blasted 8% when they pointed this out at their latest conference call. AMAT, on the other hand, used spin to avoid the word "pushout" and its stock went up 8%. I wrote about it in a Seeking Alpha article in May entitled "What Applied Materials Didn't Say That Made Its Stock Pop."
    So while the 3D FinFET and NAND market is slow in evolving, the advanced packaging market is not impacted. There is another 3D (and 2.5D) business out their in which 2D chips are stacked and interconnections mad using interposers and through silicon vias (TSV). This is the market that UTEK has an opportunity to shine with its litho business.
    Jul 19 04:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Solar Industry: U.S. Duties, WTO Ruling And The Obvious Winners [View article]
    U.S. and European manufacturers just can't compete and they are trying to level the playing field as the author said, but it didn't work. The US had an opportunity years ago with the stimulus package and didn't focus on US industry, only jobs, which meant votes.
    China got the government subsidies form government-owned banks, and instead of using the money to make jobs, they used it to make better cells and panels. In 2008, Chinese panels had the lowest efficiencies and shortest lifetimes. Now they are among the best in the industry.
    I wrote an an article for Seeking Alpha a few years ago (and just realized I never made the final edits for publication!) called "Is Solar a Duplication of China’s Rare Earth Element Strategy?" Being crafty, the Chinese knocked nearly every rare earth mine out of business 10 years ago and the as an epilog imposed a tariff a few years ago that caused rare earth metal prices to increase overnight by 10x.
    Solar is another case and the same story, except that in the rare earth business there are few substitutes for rare earth metals in applications such as magnets. In solar, there are alternative energy alternatives.
    Jul 19 04:40 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment