Applied Materials (Nasdaq – AMAT) is the leading provider of semiconductor capital goods equipment in the world. Only about a quarter of Applied’s business volume comes from North America and Europe combined. The vast majority comes from Japan, South Korea and the Asia-Pacific zone. Applied has four business segments: 65 percent of revenues come from the Silicon segment (equipment for chip fabrication and particle deposition processes); 23 percent from wafer Fab Solutions (clean room and robotics equipment); 10 percent from Display (equipment used for TV flat panel displays, computer displays, etc.); and the balance from Energy and Environmental Solutions, including photovoltaic solar cells and energy-efficient glass.
Applied Materials has made a long-term strategic decision to become a force in solar power equipment, and has used acquisitions to penetrate the business. Most recently, Applied paid approximately $475 million to purchase HCT Shaping, a privately held Swiss manufacturer of wire saws used to slice silicon wafers. Applied’s efforts were rewarded in March when it won a multi-year $1.9 billion contract to supply equipment for multiple solar panel factories overseas.
Applied has a strong environmental management system and comprehensive reporting. It has detailed disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions, having reduced emissions 50 percent normalized to revenues from 2002 to 2004. AMAT is developing an Environmental Value Systems Analysis with the University of California, Berkeley to assess the environmental costs of owning and operating semiconductor fabrication tools with the goal of establishing market value for cost-saving eco-efficient product design and operation. Between 2002 and 2004, it cut hazardous waste by 43 percent and increased recycling of non-hazardous waste by 25 percent. A variety of products are used to significantly reduce greenhouse gases for clients including Remote Clean, a Plasma Exhaust Gas Abatement System, and a vacuum pump that reduces energy usage by 75 percent.
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