Fri, Aug 14, 2009 - Page 12 News List

SPIL to invest up to NT$2 billion in TMC: official

By Lisa Wang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Siliconware Precision Industries Co (SPIL, 矽品精密), the world’s second-biggest chip packager and tester, said yesterday that its board had approved a plan to invest as much as NT$2 billion (US$60.8 million) in the government-backed memory chipmaker Taiwan Memory Co (TMC, 台灣創新記憶體公司).

Taichung-based SPIL is the first company to give financial support to the newly established TMC, which registered with the Ministry of Economic Affairs’ commerce department last month, with an initial capital of only NT$500,000.

“From a purely investment point of view, we think TMC’s business model will work and we believe TMC will be able to gain a substantial share of the nation’s dynamic random acess memory [DRAM] market,” SPIL spokesman Byron Chiang (江百宏) said by telephone.

The investment will also give SPIL an upper hand when it comes to providing chip testing and packaging services for TMC or any other company in the alliance, he said.

“The collaboration, if it comes true, will help boost SPIL’s memory testing and packaging business, which accounts for a small portion of the company’s revenues now. But the margin can be very high,” said Rick Hsu (徐稦成), a senior research analyst at Nomura Securities Co in Taipei.

SPIL said in a stock exchange filing that it planned to subscribe to between NT$1 billion and NT$2 billion of TMC’s common shares after the latter unveils the details of its share sale plan.

TMC chairman John Hsuan (宣明智) said in April that his team was in talks with possible investors to raise half of the capital it needs, while the other half would come from the government. The government said it would invest less than NT$10 billion in TMC.

Based on Hsuan’s idea, TMC would be a DRAM designer and a company licensing patents to its partners in exchange of capacities, forming a large DRAM alliance.

SPIL said it planned to spend at least NT$4 billion on new equipment this year. In the first half of the year, its revenues dropped 24 percent to NT$23.34 billion.

Shares of SPIL jumped 2.4 percent to NT$42.7 yesterday.

Larger rival Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc’s (日月光半導體) shares rose 2.89 percent to NT$23.15.

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