TOKYO -- Japanese DRAM vendor Elpida Memory Inc. and Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. announced Wednesday (August 27, 2003) that the two companies would work together to develop photomasks for integrated circuits with critical dimensions of less than 100-nanometers, and that Toppan would supply Elpida with masks for use in its production facilities, including foundries working for Elpida.
The deal is exclusive, has a five-year term and was entered into to cut costs and ensure timely supplies of the masks,, according to a Reuters report published the same day. The report said Elpida and its foundry suppliers could purchase more than $250 million worth of masks under the five-year deal.
"As long as you see an advantage in price and delivery, it is better to stick to one company," the report quotes Yukio Sakamoto, chief executive officer of Elpida, as saying. "If you need to keep several suppliers to drive prices down and secure delivery, maybe the contract itself is not right," the account also quotes Sakamoto as saying.
At present Elpida procures photomasks from five suppiers, including Toppan, which is expected to become the sole supplier by the end of March 2004, the report said.
Elpida, which is a joint venture between Japanese electronics giants NEC and Hitachi formed in December 1999 and in operation since April 2000, expects to benefit from the deal by reduced costs, a speed-up of its chip development cycle and through a stable supply of photomasks.
Toppan also expects to see reduced development costs and technical support in keeping up with the leading edge in DRAM technology, the company said.