TOKYO—Toshiba Corp. has decided to gut the company’s semiconductor business—except for its NAND flash memory products, Japan’s economic newspaper Nikkei reported Saturday morning.
The move is viewed as a necessary step by the Japanese giant to return to profitability, after expensive post-scandal restructuring.
Under the new strategy, Toshiba will focus and consolidate its investment and business operations on “flash memory” and “nuclear energy” businesses. Toshiba has now positioned them as the two pillars to carry the company’s future.
Toshiba, the world’s second largest NAND supplier after Samsung Electronics, will keep its flash memory business but will sell everything else in its chip business.
Those scheduled for sale include: analog, LSIs, MCUs and other energy saving devices. These products have served the automotive and industrial markets, while also broadly designed into consumer appliances and home equipment.
Toshiba’s overall semiconductor business (sans NAND), which will go on sale, is estimated to generate the annual sales of about 200 billion yen. Toshiba hopes to use proceeds of the sales to the company’s Yokkaichi fab – the home of its NAND flash production.
Open for bidding
Toshiba has already opened up bidding, Nikkei reported.
The Development Bank of Japan was “the first to throw its hat into the ring,” the Japanese newspaper reported. The Development Bank of Japan, the government-backed fund, also operates a semiconductor joint venture with Seiko Holdings. Nikkei said that is it is looking for a partnership with Toshiba's chip business.
Certainly, the Development Bank of Japan won’t be the only one going after Toshiba’s storied chip business. Other funds are also expected to place bids. Nikkei reported that Toshiba “intends to choose a buyer by the end of March.”
All eyes on Yokkaichi
Meanwhile, all the attention of Toshiba’s chip business is now on Yokkaichi fab located in Mie prefecture, where its NAND flash memories are manufactured.
By March, Toshiba is planning to begin mass production of 3-D NAND flash memory. New production lines being built at fabrication facilities in Yokkaichi are partially complete, Nikkei reported. “Lithography and other equipment will be brought in gradually. Construction will be complete by June,” noted the newspaper.
— Junko Yoshida, Chief International Correspondent, EE Times