TOKYO Anticipating soaring demand for NAND flash memory, Toshiba Corp. will boost investment in its memory fab in Yokkaichi, increasing capacity to 30,000 300-mm wafers a month, or 40 percent more than previously planned.
Demand for NAND flash memory has soared over the past year, said Sadazumi Ryu, Toshiba's corporate senior executive vice president. NAND fabrication at Toshiba's Yokkaichi fab is ramping up now to full capacity, he added.
Total investment will be ¥39.5 billion (about $352 million), evenly shared by Toshiba and Sandisk Corp. Capacity is expected to reach 30,000 wafers a month by April 2006.
Toshiba currently has a monthly capacity of 450 million (counted in 64-Mbit parts) NAND flash memory chips. Capacity will be increased to 750 million units by year's end.
Toshiba also said Friday (July 29) that its first-quarter sales were ¥1.29 trillion ($11.7 billion), up 4 percent from the year before, but operating income fell ¥1.9 billion ($17 million), a ¥16 billion ($144 million) plunge from the year before level.
Its semiconductor operation also suffered price erosion. "The price of NAND flash chips dropped by about 60 percent [from the previouys year]. That means income becomes just 40 percent if the sales volume is the same," he said. The semiconductor operation in its first quarter ended with ¥221.5 billion ($2 billion) in sales, a 4 percent drop from the year before and ¥14.8 billion ($133 million) in operating profit, a decline of ¥22.1 billion from the first quarter of last year.
Toshiba said it expects demand for NAND flash memory will help boost pricing within an acceptable range.