Micron will have a second candidate for a 300mm wafer fab when it takes over Toshiba Corp.'s Dominion Semiconductor Co. facility in Manassas, Va., said chairman and chief executive Steve Appleton.
Micron has long identified its vacant shell complex in Lehi, Utah, as the likely site of its first 300mm fab.
"Both Lehi and Manassas are capable of 300-mm wafer production," Appleton told financial analysts Thursday on a conference call. "Any decisions we make will depend on market conditions. We have no definite plans at the moment."
He said Micron is starting manufacturing R&D on 300mm wafers in its new development fab opened in Boise, Idaho. He indicated the prospects for 300mm wafer production were improving, as the cost of the large size wafers "is coming down to the $350 to $400 (each) range for volume orders." Appleton previously had disparaged entering the 300mm arena any time soon because of what he called the excessive cost of wafer blanks.
When Micron does launch production fabs at Lehi, the firm has no plans to close any other facilties, he told analysts.
The Micron chieftain said the firm isn't backing away from its earlier target of $1 billion capital investment for its existing operations in its current fiscal year. The capex total, however, would be increased an unspecified amount asMicron upgrades the Dominion fab it is acquiring from Toshiba.
Appleton said the Virginia fab is now running at the rate of 3,500-4,000 wafer starts a week. However, he indicated after Micron's upgrading it will be capable of 10,000 wafer starts a week. "As we go through time, we expect to utilize all
that capacity," he added.
Micron continues to accelerate its die shrinks, projecting that by the end of the year 65% of production lines will be at 0.15-micron capability and 5% will be at the next 0.13-micron node.
The memory executive predicted that Micron's production bit growth in the current quarter "will be in the high teens." Mike Sadler, vice president of sales, forecast that the industry bit growth for 2002 will be between 35%-to-48%, while based on customer inputs Micron is expecting industry bit growth demand to top 75% over last year.
On the acquisition front, Appleton still maintained that the deal with Toshiba for the Dominion fab will close before the end of March. Regarding the torturous negotiations to take over seven Hynix Semiconductor DRAM fabs, he ducked making
any prediction on the outcome of those talks.
Asked if he had any cutoff deadline to get a deal, Appleton said the complex negotiations between many parties half a world apart "means you back and forth a lot. We just keep trying
to move forward."
Sadler expected the ramp of DDR chips to continue from a 25% share of total Micron DRAM sales to exceed SDRAM levels in the next few quarters. He said DDR price premiums have evaporated recently so double data rate "is near parity with (comparable density} SDRAM devices."
Earlier in the day, Micron reported a net loss for its second quarter of fiscal 2002 of $30.4 million, or 5 cents per diluted share, on revenue of $645.9 million. These results compare to a net loss of $4 million, or 1 cent per diluted share, on net sales of $1.1 billion million in the same period last year.
The Boise, Idaho, company reported a net loss of $265.9 million, or 44 cents per diluted share, on net sales of $423.9 million in its fiscal first quarter.
Sixteen analysts polled by Thompson/First Call expected the company to record a loss of 4 cents per share with a high of 6 cents and a low of 12 cents in the quarter.
Net sales in the second quarter were up 52% from the first quarter of fiscal 2002 as a result of an approximate 70% increase in average selling prices for the company's products, partially offset by an approximate 10% decrease in megabit shipments.
Micron??s finished goods inventories declined significantly during the quarter, and reached minimum levels at quarter end. Overall, inventory rose 21.4% to $547.6 million from $451 million in the first quarter.
Megabit production in the second quarter of fiscal 2002 was approximately 30% lower than the first quarter, attributable to the company's efforts to reduce its manufacturing cycle times and the effects of scheduled holiday downtime.
Micron ended its second quarter with about $1.5 billion in cash and liquid investments, down from $1.7 billion in the previous quarter.