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DRAM packages could add to uncertainty?

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CIOL Bureau
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EL SEGUNDO, USA & BANGALORE, INDIA: The last fortnight or so has been a highly entertaining one for the global DRAM industry.

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First, Qimonda AG managed to arrange a Euro 325 million financing package for the ramp up of its innovative Buried Wordline technology. This package includes a Euro 150 million loan from the German Free State of Saxony, a Euro 100 million loan from a leading financial institution in Portugal and a Euro 75 million loan from Qimonda's parent company Infineon.

Then, the Taiwanese government has prepared a NT$100 billion National Development Fund to bail out the hard hit Taiwanese DRAM industry. If this wasn't enough, Hynix, the Korean company, also received $550 million support from its creditor banks.

As we come to the end of the year, it is being reported that Japan's Elpida Memory Inc. has begun discussions with several Taiwan-based DRAM manufacturers, such as Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. (PSC), Rexchip, and ProMOS Technologies.

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It would seem the Taiwanese, American and Japanese DRAM vendors are trying to unite and take on the Korean vendors.

While we will surely have a look at this in the new year, it would be interesting to note the analysts' take on these DRAM initiatives.

Commenting on the Taiwan government's bail-out plan as well as Hynix's rescue package from banks, John Lei, Analyst, memory, iSuppli Corp., said: "In general, Hynix's package is much like a short-term relief for their near-term debt, while the Taiwan government aims at the possible consolidation of five suppliers."

"All these packages could bring more uncertainties to the maket, however, based on iSuppli's assumption and forecasts. The industry operation profit margin will hit bottom in Q4-08, but profitability of the industry will not occur until Q4-09," he added.

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