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Monday, January 31, 2011
Elpida To Purchase Powerchip's PC DRAM Products


Japanese PC memory maker Elpida Memory and Taiwan's Powerchip Technology have reached a non-binding understanding that Elpida will purchase all DRAM products that Powerchip will manufacture, including the current portion which Powerchip has been selling as Powerchip branded products.

Elpida will sell those products as Elpida's house brand products. It seems that Elpida is looking for alliances to bolster its competitiveness in a market torn by oversupply and depressed prices.

Elpida currently has a foundry agreement with Powerchip for PC DRAMs and purchases half of what Powerchip manufactures at their fabs in Hsinchu, Taiwan. Powerchip currently has 80,000 wafers per month capacity for commodity DRAM production and licenses from Elpida the right to distribute the other half of the products as their own branded products. Powerchip also has a right to purchase approximately 30,000 DRAM wafers fabricated at Rexchip Electronics Corporation, a joint venture between the two companies, and sell those DRAMs to their customers as their own branded products.

When a final agreement is reached, Powerchip will phase out the sales of own branded DRAMs and Elpida will purchase all PC DRAMs from Powerchip to sell them as its own branded products. In other words, the new agreement will enable Elpida to expand its production capacity without capital expenditures. The technology migration at Powerchip's fabs for DRAM production, which will be conducted by Powerchip, will require relatively small capital spending as those fabs use Elpida's efficient process technologies.

Furthermore, demand for power-saving Mobile DRAMs used in smartphones and tablet PCs has been increasing rapidly, forcing Elpida's Hiroshima Fab to allocate its capacity for these products and less to PC DRAMs. Elpida can compensate a declining portion of PC DRAM production at Hiroshima by increasing procurement from its foundry partner to maintain and improve its presence in the DRAM industry.

Powerchip plans to shift towards a Foundry Model by expanding its foundry production portion to Elpida as well as other semiconductor products and customers. Furthermore Powerchip and Elpida also intend to work together to continue support for Powerchip's existing customers.

Taiwan had previously planned to set up a new firm to incorporate the country's chipmakers as well Japanese mempry makers, in a move that would give Taiwanese DRAM makers access to key intellectual properties related to DRAM. The new firm was to have formed a capital tie with Elpida and share technology, but the deal fell apart after the Taiwanese government scrapped a plan to inject funds into the firm.


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