TOKYO Without an infusion of the government funds, the Japanese DRAM industry will remain in peril throughout the current global recession.
Elpida Memory Inc., the only remaining Japanese DRAM manufacturer, is exploring a government bailout, but public funds alone probably wouldn't do the trick.
If a bailout were combined with bold corporate moves, however, including mergers or consolidation with competing DRAM vendors in Taiwan, Elpida, the world's No. 3 DRAM manufacturer, could emerge from the global recession as a formidable memory manufacturer. It might even be big enough to challenge markets leaders Samsung Electronics and Hynix Semiconductor.
This, at least, is "one of the scenarios" Elpida is spinning today, a company spokesman told EE Times.
Tokyo-based Elpida is "considering" applying for Japanese government's funds to beef up its capital. Elpida may seek "several tens of billions of yen," the Nikkei newspaper reported Wednesday (Feb. 4).
The Elpida spokesman, however, declined to comment on its applications for the aid program, noting that a bill approved by Japan's Cabinet Tuesday for troubled non-financial institutions to receive public funding, is still waiting passage into law by the Japanese Diet.
Elpida is expecting to post a net loss of more than 100 billion yen ($1.12 billion) for the fiscal year ending in March. The battered Japanese memory maker, however, does not have liquidity problems, acknowledged the spokesman.
Nevertheless, the semiconductors sector is a notoriously capital-intensive business. "If we had more money for investment, we could act more quickly and more decisively," the Elpida spokesman said. The company is also finding fewer sources to tap for capital
amid the global economic crisis, he explained.