Fri, Jan 14, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Hynix, ProMOS to forge strategic foundry alliance

TIE-UP The deal would ensure Hunix a stable supply of 300mm wafers, while ProMOS would be able to secure access to low-cost memory production technology


South Korea's Hynix Semiconduc-tor Inc and Taiwan's ProMOS Technologies Inc (茂德科技) yesterday sealed a deal to forge a strategic alliance in foundry services and development of new memory-production processes.

Hynix, the world's second largest maker of dynamic random access memory chips (DRAMs), said in a statement that ProMOS would offer Hynix its 12-inch (300 millimeter) fabrication technology.

Hynix agreed to license to ProMOS certain proprietary technology for DRAM stack processes, while ProMOS would adopt Hynix's 90-nanometer technology at its new plant. The technology involves carving out chips out of wafers measuring 300mm in diameter, Hynix said in a statement.

It said the tie-up would ensure Hunix a stable supply of 300mm wafers, while ProMOS would be able to secure low-cost memory production technology and a long-term foundry-services client.

"This partnership will further enhance our profitability and presence in the sector," the statement said.

Hynix plans to produce its own 300mm wafers on its fabrication line in the first half of this year.

Hynix saw its business rebounding last year from years of losses which prompted creditors to arrange a series of bailouts.

It sold its non-memory chip operations to Citigroup's venture capital unit in October. A month later, Hynix signed a contract with European giant STMicroelectronics to build a new chip plant in China.

Hynix overtook Micron Technology Inc as the world's second largest computer memory chipmaker during the fourth quarter, Merrill Lynch & Co analyst Simon Woo said.

Shipments by Hynix of DRAM in units known as bits rose to 226 million during the fourth quarter, compared with 189 million in the third quarter, Woo said in a note to clients. Micron's shipments rose to 223 million bits from 213 million in the third quarter, Woo said.

South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co retained its spot as the industry leader with 392 million bits shipped during the fourth quarter. Germany's Infineon Technologies AG was fourth with 181 million bits shipped, Woo said.

Global operating profit, or sales minus the cost of goods sold, from DRAM may plunge to US$4 billion this year from US$7.4 billion last year as increased output drives down prices 31 percent this year, Nam Hyung Kim, a semiconductor analyst at El Segundo, California-based researcher ISuppli, said this week.

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