LONDON South Korean memory maker Hynix Semiconductor Inc. has said it plans to raise its capital expenditure for 2010 to 3.05 trillion won (about $2.5 billion) from an earlier planned 2.3 trillion won (about $1.9 billion). The company is also planning to spend 522 trillion won (about $425 million) to buy Numonyx NV out of a joint-venture wafer fab in China.
Hynix is joining other major chip companies seeking to ramp manufacturing production to exploit the recovery in global demand. However, the timescales in semiconductor production are so long that it can take 12 to 24 months before planned expenditure can translate into additional production, by which time the industry can have moved into price decline due to over capacity.
Earlier in May Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced that it would double its capital spending to boost its capacity in semiconductor and flat-panel display manufacturing. Samsung said it would spend 18 trillion won (about $15 billion) in 2010. A further 8 trillion won ($6.5 billion) would be spent on R&D.
In May leading foundry chip maker Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) approved a capex expansion of $1.65 billion for 2010 which includes $210 million to start work on Fab 15, TSMC's third so-called gigafab, located in the Central Taiwan Science Park. The commonly held definition of a gigafab is one capable of processing 100,000 wafers starts per month.
Hynix's break with Numonyx was expected since it was announced in February that Micron Technology Inc. (Boise, Idaho), a DRAM maker and rival to Hynix, would acquire Numonyx Holdings BV. The purchase is set to take place on Dec. 31, and will raise Hynix's stake in Hynix-Numonyx Semiconductor Ltd. to 90.25 percent, according to local reports that cite a Hynix regulatory filing.
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