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Micron, Nanya seek Taiwan gov't support

Posted: 14 Apr 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Taiwan government support? Taiwan DRAM venture? Micron TMC?

Micron Technology Inc. and DRAM partner Nanya Technology Corp. have rejected a plan to join a state-led memory venture in Taiwan. However, in a new twist, Micron and Nanya are asking for aid from the Taiwan government.

As expected, Micron and Nanya decided not to join Taiwan Memory Corp. (TMC). The memory venture recently announced plans that it is working with DRAM rival Elpida Memory Inc. of Japan, which raised questions about Micron's interest in TMC.

"Micron, Nanya and Inotera have decided not to join TMC as it has currently been structured," according to the companies. As reported, Micron recently acquired Qimonda AG's share in a joint DRAM venture with Nanya in Taiwan, dubbed Inotera Memories Inc.

Micron and Nanya "intend to have closer cooperation in increasing R&D activities in Taiwan," according to the companies. Micron and Nanya "request the same support from (the) Taiwan government as what TMC is getting."

The companies did not elaborate. The Taiwan government will pour $2 billion in TMC, but it will own less than 50 percent of the venture, according to reports.

At the same time, "Nanya and Inotera will get financing from Formosa Plastics Group," the companies said. Nanya's parent company, Formosa Plastics, has recently injected funds in the DRAM company, it was noted.

Micron's decision was telegraphed last week. As reported, Japan's Elpida last week was selected as a strategic technology partner of TMC. The Taiwan government is bailing out the island's loss-ridden DRAM sector.

As part of the proposed plan, Taiwan wanted to consolidate many of its DRAM makers and form a new company. Taiwan's DRAM makers include Nanya, Inotera, Powerchip, Rexchip, ProMOS and Winbond.

The entity was planning to form a partnership with either Elpida or Micron. Elpida was given the nod, creating some confusion in the market. Within TMC, Elpida may help to consolidate several DRAM makers in Taiwan, including Powerchip, Rexchip and possibly ProMOS.

It is unclear where TMC is goingor, for that matter, if the entity will survive. Powerchip has raised questions about TMC. And now, Micron and Nanya will go it alone amid the ongoing downturn in DRAMs.

March results
Micron recently posted poor results. Its partner, Nanya Technology, separately announced unaudited net sales revenue of NT$2.221 billion ($65.1 million) for March 2009, representing a 14 percent sales increase month-over-month, mainly due to shipment increase. Year-to-date sales revenue was NT$6.173 billion ($181 million), showing 32 percent down year-over-year.

Taiwan DRAM maker Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. (PSC) announced unaudited net sales of NT$1.019 billion ($29.9 million) for March 2009, down 77.57 percent from the previous month. From January to March, PSC's sales are down 73.57 percent.

PSC VP Eric Tang stated that in light of DRAM selling prices being lower than cash costsand in order to lower cash outflowPSC continued its production cuts resulting in March revenues to be lower than February.

Not all are suffering in Taiwan. Winbond Electronics Corp. announced the revenue results for the month of March 2009. Revenue for the month was up 2.97 percent from the previous month. But from January to March, Winbond's sales have dropped by 52.35 percent, compared to the like period a year ago.

Mask ROM specialist Macronix International Co. Ltd of Taiwan announced the unaudited net sales of NT$1.804 billion ($52.9 million) for March 2009, a decrease of 3 percent over the previous month. Compared to the same period in 2008, the net sales of March increased 2.8 percent in 2009.

Accumulated net sales for January to March 2009 was NT$4.915 billion ($144.1 million), an increase of 0.1 percent compared to last year.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times





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