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Micron nabs #2 spot in DRAM space

Posted: 03 Jul 2012 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DRAM? memory market? Micron-Elpida deal?

U.S.-based Micron Technology Inc. is prepping up to be the world's second largest dynamic random access memory (DRAM) supplier as it reaches the final stage of its acquisition of Japanese memory maker Elpida Memory Inc.

According to IHS iSuppli's IHS Memory & Storage service ranking, Micron had been ranked the No. 4 global DRAM supplier in the first quarter, with $759 million in revenue and a 12.2 percent share of the market. The company placed behind top-ranked Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, No. 2 Hynix Semiconductor Inc., and No. 3 Elpida. But with the purchase of Elpida, Micron's revenue and market share in the first quarter would jump to $1.5 billion and 24.8 percent. This would allow Micron to edge out Hynix for the No.2 position.

DRAM market share

Table 1: Worldwide DRAM market share ranking in 1Q12
Source: IHS iSuppli Research, July 2012.

DRAM market share

Table 2: Worldwide DRAM market share ranking in 1Q12, with Elpida/Micron combined
Source: IHS iSuppli Research, July 2012.

"The purchase of Elpida represents a huge boost for Micron's status in the DRAM industry," said Mike Howard, senior principal analyst for DRAM & memory research at IHS. "Micron will see its market share and DRAM manufacturing base nearly double as a result. Furthermore, Micron is gaining access to some excellent mobile DRAM technology, which should greatly improve its product portfolio. The $2.5 billion sale price is reasonable and shouldn't impact Micron's cash position adversely. It will likely take at least six months for the deal to close, but IHS expects a very quick transition and integration once it does."

Micron's acquisition announcement follows news of the bankruptcy of Elpida. The consolidation of the DRAM market set off by Elpida's bankruptcy and the subsequent purchase by Micron is bringing new stability to DRAM pricing, helping lead renewed growth to the market.

Global DRAM industry revenue this year is forecast to reach $30.5 billion, up 3.3 percent from $29.6 billion in 2011, IHS said. Although seemingly small, the revenue expansion for 2012 is a welcome development given the market's stunning 25 percent contraction last year. The overall picture will continue to brighten during the next few years, as shown in the figure attached, with DRAM revenue exceeding $30 billion each year for the next five years and reaching $39 billion in 2016.

DRAM revenue forecast

Before Elpida's bankruptcy, the DRAM industry in 2011 had been bedeviled by excess DRAM manufacturing capacity, which drove down prices and caused revenue to decline. Compounding the difficulties last year was the October flood in Thailand, which depressed PC shipmentsa traditional DRAM stronghold. The perceived scarcity of hard disk drives pummeled PC sales and thereby DRAM demand; and the paucity of hard drives meant PC manufacturers were paying more for storageleaving even fewer dollars to spend on DRAM.





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