Toshiba To Speed Up Flash Memory Expansion

Japan’s Toshiba plans to speed up its flash memory expansion plans and boost production capacity by 70 percent by June 2008, six months ahead of schedule.

Toshiba, the world’s second-largest maker of NAND flash chips, and its U.S. partner SanDisk will push forward ramp-ups at a 600 billion yen ($4.9 billion) plant under construction in western Japan, Toshiba spokesman Keisuke Omori said on Tuesday.

Ramping up capacity and driving down production costs is imperative for Toshiba, which is hurrying to catch up to top NAND maker South Korea’s Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. as chip price falls level off and present attractive margins.

Toshiba had originally planned to boost monthly capacity at its newest plant, expected to go online in October-December, to process 67,500 units of cost-efficient 300-mm wafers by October-December 2008.

Toshiba now plans to move that time table forward by about six months and its total monthly capacity would hit 260,000 wafers a month by June 2008, up 70 percent from the end of March.

Toshiba shares rose as much as 2.7 percent to 968 yen, passing a 7-year high logged in May. The stock was up 1.1 percent at 953 yen at the end of morning trade, compared to the benchmark Nikkei average which fell 0.36 percent.

News source: CRN

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