Wed, Apr 03, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Inotera in black after three years in red

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

DRAM chipmaker Inotera Memories Inc (華亞科技) on Monday said it made NT$1.13 billion (US$40 million) in profit, or NT$0.21 in earnings per share, last month, ending a three-year-long losing streak.

The firm’s revenue soared by 36 percent to NT$3.44 billion last month from NT$2.53 billion in February — its highest level in about two years — and by 36.7 percent from the NT$2.52 billion posted in the same month a year earlier.

Despite the much-anticipated turnaround, Inotera’s shares tumbled 6.98 percent in Taipei trading yesterday as investors unloaded their holdings to profit from the stock’s rise. Shares closed at NT$8.39 yesterday and have rallied 116 percent so far this year.

Inotera chairman Charles Kau said he expected a “significant improvement” in the company’s first-quarter performance, citing rising chip prices and new agreements inked with its major stakeholders: US memorychip maker Micron Technology Inc and Taiwan’s Nanaya Technology Corp (南亞科技).

Kau said Micron had agreed to buy about 90 percent of Inotera-produced chips for above market price, adding that the company plans to start producing memory chips other than DRAM chips with technologies from Micron.

As of the middle of last month, prices for mainstream DDR3/2Gb chips had risen more than 66 percent to US$1.75 per unit since the beginning of this year, driven by strong demand for white-box tablets in China, according to a TrendForce Corp (集邦科技) report showed two weeks ago.

Chinese white-box tablet makers use PC DRAM chips in their tablets, rather than higher-priced mobile DRAM chips in order to cut costs, the Taipei-based researcher said. That made the tablet segment a major driving force for PC DRAM chips, offsetting sluggish demand from PC makers, it said.

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