BELLEVUE, Wash.—Japan's Toshiba Corp. posted NAND flash memory sales of $1.71 billion in the first quarter, up 19 percent from the fourth quarter of 2011, the highest growth rate among all NAND suppliers, and good for a 34 percent share of the NAND market, according to IHS iSuppli.
Toshiba retained its No. 2 position among NAND suppliers in the first quarter, trailing only South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which held 37 percent of the market, according to IHS.
Toshiba's robust NAND sales growth in the first quarter was even more impressive considering that the NAND flash market as a whole declined by 1 percent during the quarter, according to IHS. All other NAND suppliers experienced sales decreases in the quarter, the firm said.
Overall first-quarter NAND flash sales amounted to $4.99 billion, from $5.05 billion in the fourth quarter last year, IHS said.
In achieving 34 percent first quarter growth, Toshiba shook off troubles experienced in 2011, when Toshiba's production was disrupted by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan and later, when Toshiba's sales—like all NAND suppliers—were hurt by market conditions that caused a carryover of inventory into the first quarter of this year, according to Dee Nguyen, memory analyst at IHS.
"Toshiba’s strong results show that the company has regained its footing and has put a tumultuous year behind it," Dee said, in a statement.
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Overall, the NAND market was dragged down in the first quarter by weak pricing, which reflected the mismatch between an industry-wide growth in supply and a seasonally slow quarter for consumer demand, IHS said. With the exception of Toshiba, NAND suppliers experienced revenue declines that ranged from a soft landing for Samsung to a steep drop-off for Powerchip Technology Corp., IHS said.
Samsung logged first quarter NAND sales of $1.86 billion, down 4 percent from $1.94 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, IHS said. The firm's market share decreased by one point in the first quarter compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, IHS said.
Powerchip's NAND sales declined 35 percent sequentially in the first quarter, while SK Hynix Inc. and Micron Technology Inc. saw sequential NAND sales declines of 14 percent and 17 percent, respectively, IHS said.
IHS blamed Samsung’s decline on a10 percent fall in the average selling price (ASP) of its NAND product and Samsung's throttling production in one of its fabs while preparing to transition to the firm’s System LSI division that makes processors and chip sets. The company is optimistic, however, about a better environment in the second quarter, as handset and PC manufacturers launch new products for the upcoming high-demand seasons, IHS said.