HSINCHU, Taiwan -- All of Taiwan's DRAM manufacturers suffered losses in the third quarter as a global downturn diminished demand and eroded prices.
For the first 9 months of this year, Taiwan's six DRAM companies have lost a combined $1.23 billion, according to reports from the companies.
Among them, Mosel Vitelic Inc., which has a joint venture with Infineon Technologies AG, was the hardest hit, losing $179.5 million in the three months to September. Nanya Technology Corp., which licenses technologies from IBM Corp., lost $109.6 million.
Those companies, along with rivals in the U.S. and South Korea, have been struggling to keep their head above water after prices of the standard 128 MB DRAM plunged to record lows and dropped below their production cost. With the product prices hovering below $1 per chip in the coming months, Taiwan's players are likely to experience a tougher situation, some analysts said.
"We don't expect to see any signs of rebound until the second half of next year," said Connor Liu, a research vice president with SG Securities in Taipei. "A balance in demand and supply could only be possible a year from now."
Despite the huge losses, Taiwan DRAM makers should be able to survive through this downturn due to their cash positions or small debts, analysts said.
That puts them in a less unfavorable situation than Hynix Semiconductor Co., which last week posted an unprecedented $1.25 billion net loss for the September quarter. For months, Hynix has been in negotiations with creditors to restructure its $6.5 billion in existing debt and to obtain $750 million in new loans.
"The worldwide DRAM market is sluggish, but we're still optimistic about the future," said president Chen Ming-liang of ProMos Technologies Inc., which lost $55.3 million in the third quarter. The company, a venture between Infineon and Mosel, next year is planning to concentrate on the production of 256 MB DRAM on 0.14-micron process technology.
In the three months to September, Powerchip Semiconductor Corp. and Vanguard International Semiconductor Co. lost $114.3 million and $77.6 million, respectively. Winbond Electronics Corp., the island's largest DRAM maker and currently a supplier to Toshiba Corp., reported $114.6 million in losses. Winbond is hoping to save $58 million in 2002 by shutting down a 5-inch wafer fab, cutting executive pays and shedding jobs.
In the year's first three quarters, Taiwan's six DRAM companies lost $1.23 billion combined: Mosel $434.8 million, Nanya $217.4 million, Winbond $188.4 million, Vanguard $142 million, Powerchip $139.1 million and ProMos $110.1 million.