ProMOS Technologies, a major DRAM memory chip maker, said yesterday that it will build two more 12-inch wafer fabs this year and next in the hope of having four such plants up and running by 2009 as part of its efforts to " keep its roots in Taiwan."
Ben Tseng, ProMOS vice president for sales and marketing and corporate spokesman, was correcting a media report that his company will invest NT$400 billion in building five 12-inch wafer fabs within the next five years.
In addition to the 12A fab in the Hsinchu Science-based Industrial Park and the 12B fab in the Central Science Park, Tseng said ProMOS plans to build another, 12C, fab in the central park and upgrade an 8-inch wafer into a 12-inch one, so that the company will be operating four 12-inch wafer fabs by 2008-2009.
He noted that ProMOS has been asking the government to help it acquire land for building new wafer fabs, a move that has led to speculation that his company was trying to build more plants. "Yes, more new fabs have got to be built constantly in this trade, " he said.
"We have seen some shortage in supply recently, and we have to be ready for the long run," Tseng said. "We plan to build two more 12-inch plants in Taiwan after 2009."
However, he added that the company does not plan to build wafer fabs in " remote places" such as the Tainan Science Park in southern Taiwan and has no plans to move its production lines to China. "Other companies may have their considerations, but we are staying put with our plan to take root in Taiwan, which is keeping the more advanced 12-inch wafer fabs in Taiwan and considering to move 8-inch and other less advanced technologies to China," he said.
Global chip sales growth will probably accelerate this year, not slow down as earlier estimated, fueled by demand for memory chips used in computers, according to the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics. Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Vista software, to be released this year, may also spur demand for faster and more powerful chips.
Hsinchu-based ProMOS will apply to the government to use land in central Taiwan for its expansion plans after 2009, Tseng said. He estimated each chip plant will cost about US$2.5 billion.
ProMOS's stock price remained at NT$12.35 after the announcement.
ProMOS Technologies is a memory solution provider that is renowned in the global DRAM industry. The company manufactures high-performance and high-density commodity DRAM memory chips as well as pseudo-SRAM, lower power SDRAM products. Its 2005 revenue was NT$29.5 billion, down 31.3 percent from the previous year's NT$42.9 billion.
Chairman Chen Min-liang said on November 15 at the opening ceremony for the company's second 12-inch plant that capital spending this year will rise to US$700 million from US$659 million in 2005. Chen said the company plans to raise US$500 million this year, without providing further details.
The company started mass production for its second 12-inch chip plant in November 2005 to cut chips from silicon wafers measuring 12 inches in diameter, which doubles production and helps cut costs by as much as a third compared with standard 8-inch disks.
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