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Elpida sees red, delays foundry ramp

Posted: 12 Aug 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:foundry? Elpida loss? DRAM? SDRAM?

Elpida's survival plan
During a conference, Elpida outlined its strategy to move out of the red. Here's the plan and associated challenges:

1. Elpida will transfer commodity DRAM production to Taiwan, thereby keeping leading-edge production in Japan.
The problem: It is already outsourcing production to Taiwan venture Rexchip.

2. It expects a new capital injection of 30 billion yen by the DBJ and about 20 billion yen by Taiwan Memory Corp. (TMC). As reported, the Taiwan government plans to form a new memory venture, dubbed TMC.

The problem: Elpida is the leading vendor in the venture, which is still on shaky ground.

3. Elpida is borrowing 110 billion yen ($1.16 billion) from a syndicated loan facility and others. The total injection is about 160 billion yen ($1.69 billion).
The problem: How long can one keep borrowing?

4. Elpida is shipping DRAMs, based on a shrink version of its 65nm process. It is also working on a so-called extra shrink version of the technology, dubbed 65nmXS.
The problem: That means more capacity will flood the DRAM market.

5. Like all DRAM makers, Elpida is seeing huge demand for DDR3. It is ramping up DDR3 SDRAM based on a 50nm process for the desktop. Elpida is also expected to gain 20 or more design wins based on a 50nm, 2Gbit mobile RAM product by year's end. The 50nm technology is based on copper interconnects and immersion lithography.
The problem: Every DRAM maker has nearly the same idea. And can it continue to invest in costly fab tools like immersion scanners?

6. And it is also developing DRAMs based on a 40nm process. Elpida is scheduled to start 40nm, 2Gbit DDR3 mass production in 2009.
The problem: That means more capacity will flood the DRAM market.

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