Wed, Feb 25, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Formosa may invest in chipmakers

BLOOMBERG

Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團) may invest in a new holding company that the government plans to form as part of a bailout of the nation’s computer-memory chip industry, a Morgan Stanley report said.

As part of the plan, Formosa would be invited to co-invest with the government in a holding company called Taiwan Memory resulting from a “super merger” involving eight chipmakers including Elpida Memory Inc and Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體), Frank Wang (王安亞), a Taipei-based technology analyst at Morgan Stanley, said in a report yesterday.

“Formosa’s Inotera has said it plans to raise money selling new shares this year. It makes sense for Formosa to inject cash directly to the new holding company and obtain some control,” Wang said in a telephone interview yesterday.

MICRON TECHNOLOGY

Nanya Technology Corp (南亞科技), Taiwan’s second-biggest computer-memory chipmaker and Formosa’s largest electronics company, and Inotera Memories Inc (華亞科技), Nanya’s venture with Micron Technology Inc, both posted losses in the fourth quarter as the global recession worsened a glut in the industry. Nanya and Inotera both rely on the Boise, Idaho-based Micron Technology for manufacturing technologies.

Formosa won’t consider investing in the holding company if the government chooses to use Elpida’s manufacturing processes, Wu Chia-chau (吳嘉昭), Nanya’s chairman and the group’s top executive for its chip business, said yesterday.

Chueh Ching-hsien (闕清賢), spokesman of the Taipei-based Formosa Plastics Group, couldn’t be reached for comment.

ANNOUNCEMENT CHANGE

The government pushed back the announcement of its consolidation plans for the computer memory-chip industry until next week from the end of the month because of Premier Liu Chao-shiuan’s (劉兆玄) “tight” schedule, the Chinese-­language Commercial Times said yesterday. The ministry confirmed the delay late last night.

John Hsuan (宣明智), honorary vice chairman of United Microelectronics Corp (UMC, 聯電), has been chosen to oversee the consolidation project, the newspaper said, without saying where it got the information.

“United Microelectronics has been very intimate with Elpida and we are concerned about Hsuan’s impartiality,” Wu said.

UMC, the world’s second-largest custom-chip maker, and Elpida, Japan’s biggest memory chipmaker, said in March last year they would jointly develop chips.

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