SanDisk Corp., Sunnyvale, Calif. said it is in discussions with Toshiba on expanding fab capacity at their Flash Vision Japan joint venture.
SanDisk's primary sources of supply for flash memory wafers are through FlashVision. SanDisk also purchases flash memory from Hitachi and Samsung under preferential long-term supply agreements.
"FlashVision Japan has successfully completed the transition of .16 micron NAND flash production from Toshiba's Dominion semiconductor facility in Manassas Virginia to its Yokkaichi fab in Japan and has also begun the transitioning of Yokkaichi NAND output from .16 micron production to .13 micron production," the company said.
"In parallel, SanDisk is now achieving its goal of shipping 50 per cent of its bit output from NAND MLC (multilevel cell) wafers, which substantially increases SanDisk's effective fab capacity compared to standard NAND flash wafers.
"These developments combined, have resulted in a substantial increase in the flash memory supply available to SanDisk, and are providing SanDisk with sufficient production capacity to meet its current and near term forecasted customer requirements.
Because of growing demand for flash, Toshiba and SanDisk plan to substantially increase Yokkaichi's 200mm NAND wafer output in 2003 and 2004 on the existing NAND production line. SanDisk said it believes that it can meet its share of these required investments out of its existing cash assets.
"Starting in 2005 or 2006, the projected increased market demand for flash storage may outstrip the maximum capacity of 200 mm. NAND wafers available from the Yokkaichi fab after expansion," SanDisk said. "Accordingly, Toshiba and SanDisk are in discussions to explore the addition, starting in 2006, of a 300-mm. advanced wafer fab to support the NAND flash capacity needs of both companies in the second half of this decade. Such a fab would take several years to plan, build and ramp up to full capacity.
"Financing of such a fab would require substantial new investments by both Toshiba and SanDisk, which would likely be spread between 2004 and 2008, and which will be driven by the level of business for both companies in that time frame," SanDisk said. "For these investments, SanDisk would likely have to seek additional sources of financing. SanDisk expects to make the 300-mm. fab decision together with Toshiba sometime in 2003."