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Micron regains second place in iSuppli DRAM ranks

Posted: 12 May 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share


In the first quarter of 2005 Micron Technology Inc. has regained second place in iSuppli's ranking of DRAM vendors.

Micron has displaced long time rival Hynix Semiconductor Inc. and lies in second position behind Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, according to preliminary market share data from iSuppli Corp.

Hynix had claimed the second spot in the second and fourth quarters of 2004 and for the year as a whole. In the first quarter Micron increased its DRAM bit shipments by more than 20 percent, while Hynix's shipments increased by slightly less than 20 percent, according to iSuppli.

All the leading vendors were hit by declining selling prices with Micron posting the best revenue performance among the top-four DRAM suppliers in the first quarter, suffering a 2 percent decline in sales. In contrast, Hynix's DRAM revenue declined by 9 percent for the quarter, the market research company said.

For the quarter, worldwide DRAM revenue fell to $6.6 billion, down 10 percent sequentially, but increased by 16 percent compared to the first quarter of 2004.

Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. took 31.1 percent of DRAM revenue in the first quarter, up 4.9 percentage points from the fourth quarter of 2004. DRAM sales at Infineon Technologies Inc. contracted by 18 percent. Nanya Technology Corp. reclaimed its position as Taiwan's leading DRAM supplier, passing Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. Nanya increased its sales by 3 percent on a sequential basis.

With DRAM prices continuing to decrease in the second quarter, a few suppliers are expected to post losses for the period, the first time this has occurred since the third quarter of 2003, iSuppli said.

Decreasing DRAM profitability is prompting Korean suppliers to aggressively shift their DRAM capacity to NAND flash memory, which is commanding higher margins. Samsung announced that growth in its DRAM bit production will amount to only 4 percent in the second quarter compared to 16 percent in the first quarter. Hynix has also announced that it would boost its flash memory production by converting additional DRAM capacity to NAND this quarter, iSuppli said.

The market research company said it was maintaining a "negative" rating for the near-term DRAM market conditions, but added that the bottom of the DRAM cycle is near.

- Peter Clarke

EE Times

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