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Hynix Semiconductor hit by falling chip prices

31 октября 2008

Hynix Semiconductor on Thursday reported its biggest quarterly loss in more than seven years, as the South Korean company felt the impact of falling chip prices and the closures of some its plants.

The world’s second-largest memory chipmaker suffered a net loss of Won1,650bn ($1.27bn) in the third quarter, its fourth-straight quarterly net loss. In the same period last year Hynix reported a net profit of Won168bn.

The results highlights the increasingly tough conditions facing chip makers. Demand for chips is expected to fall further amid the global economic downturn while oversupply driving has already driven down prices. Analysts say the conditions are not likely to ease in the near future.

Sales fell 20 per cent to Won1,870bn. The average selling price of Hynix’s D-Ram chips, which are used in personal computers, fell 11 per cent in the July-September period while Nand flash memory chips, used in portable gadgets, plunged 23 per cent from the previous quarter.

Kwon Oh-chul, Hynix’s senior vice president of strategic planning, predicted that supply would grow only on a limited scale next year as chip makers cut investment. But he expressed concerns about cooling demand.

”The problem lies in the demand side. We’re not sure when we will see a significant pickup in demand,” he said.

Hynix reported Won1,220bn in third-quarter non-operating losses as the Korean won fell more than 30 per cent against the US dollar this year. The company said last month it would shut down two of its aging fabrication lines in South Korea earlier than scheduled because of low efficiency.

”That’s mainly an accounting loss that does not entail actual cash outflow. We expect figures to look normal going forward,” said Mr Kwon.

He forecast a 40 per cent growth in the company’s D-Ram shipments next year. But analysts said there was no sign of a recovery in the industry cycle yet and chip prices would continue to fall to below production costs.
The downturn, which started early last year, is likely to continue through the first half of next year.

Источник: Financial Times

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