Inotera expecting strong profits

CASH SPLASH::In July the DRAM chipmaker increased its capital spending to NT$8 billion from NT$4.5 billion for this year and expects to spend even more next year

By Lisa Wang  /  Staff reporter

Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - Page 13

DRAM chipmaker Inotera Memories Inc (華亞科技) expects to see a strong profit next quarter, supported by stable prices and a broader product portfolio, a company executive said yesterday.

Inotera expects increased profitability for the company and the DRAM sector as a whole as industry consolidation helped stabilize supply and diversify demand from mobile devices, servers and consumer electronics, instead of PCs alone as in the past.

“We are seeing a strong trend in terms of profitability in the fourth quarter,” Inotera president Scott Meikle told reporters on the sidelines of a media briefing to launch the annual semiconductor trade show in Taipei. “The price is stable. And we’ll have more products.”

The price for the mainstream DDR3 DRAM chips held steady at US$1.439 per unit yesterday. Inotera is a joint DRAM chipmaker resulting from cooperation between US memorychip maker Micron Technology Inc and local DRAM chipmaker Nanya Technology Inc (南亞科技).

Inotera swung into first quarterly profits of NT$3.47 billion (US$117 million) during the April-June period and expects quarterly net profit to increase significantly this quarter.

Revenue from DRAM chips used in non-PC products rose to more than 60 percent of the chipmaker’s overall revenue, compared with 50 percent on average in the previous quarter, Meikle said.

DRAM chips used in servers are the second-largest revenue source for Inotera, generating 20 percent to 25 percent of the company’s revenue, Meikle said.

Inotera in July raised its capital spending to NT$8 billion from NT$4.5 billion for this year and it expected to spend a bigger amount next year, primarily due to the ramp-up of next-generation 20-nanometer (nm) technology, Meikle said.

The technology upgrade from 30nm technology to 20nm would help boost output by 80 percent to 90 percent, he said.

Inotera shipments next year would grow at a slower rate, as the firm plans to start ramping up production of 20nm technology in the fourth quarter of next year, or the first quarter of 2015 as scheduled, Meikle said.

Inotera has no plans to raise capital for the technology migration, he said.

Shares of Inotera and Nanya rallied 3.56 percent and 2.92 percent to NT$13.1 and NT$3.88 respectively yesterday, outperforming the TAIEX, which advanced only 0.62 percent.

Separately, SEMI Taiwan president Terry Tsao (曹世綸) said Taiwan would continue to lead global semiconductor companies in equipment investment next year by spending US$10.62 billion, outpacing the US and South Korea.

The figure represented a 1.82 percent annual increase from the US$10.43 estimated for this year, Tsao said. Overall, the global semiconductor industry is expected to spend 21 percent more on new equipment, increasing to US$43.98 billion next year from this year’s US$36.29 billion, according to SEMI’s forecast.

Taiwanese semiconductor companies, led by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), planned to spend between US$9.5 billion and U$10 billion on new equipment this year and aim to spend more next year.

SEMI Taiwan, a joint organizer of the SEMI show, expected the number of visitors to increase by 6 percent from 28,357 last year to 30,000 this year.